Okay, now that we’re up to speed, it feels too late to do a holiday post so I’m going to blow right by Christmas and New Years and the fact that I woke up at 3am on Jan 1st with a Covidfever (we all recovered), and just get to what’s happening now.
My lovely family and I are in the process of packing up everything and moving into my mother-in-law’s place. We are so beyond grateful that she is letting us stay there for a few months, because I hate paying rent and she lives in a country club with 6 golf courses. So yeah…pretty hard to beat that as we start rounding the corner into Spring (hopefully). Despite how excited I am to live there, here comes one of the worst tasks ever: moving.
Moving absolutely sucks. The fact that moving exists makes me question why I have things. Every time I move, I end up throwing out so much shit, then I accumulate more just to throw it out again when I move out of that place. All I really need is a mattress, TV, Xbox, grill, computer, 9 outfits, a chair, and my golf clubs. That list has grown to include Jenn and Emily’s stuff, but I think I could legitimately live with just those items. Anyway, moving sucks, but it sucks more with a baby. Since we aren’t moving into an empty apartment, all of our big stuff needed to go into storage. Luckily, I have a free storage facility known as my parent’s basement. So, we had to rent a UHaul and bring most of our big items and boxes of non-necessities to my parent’s place. Not too bad since they came to help but moving furniture in the snow with a baby isn’t fun. Plus, we’ve gotten all the big stuff out and we still have a bunch of shit to deal with by either donating or getting to New Jersey. Thank goodness Jenn’s grandparents have a truck and a trailer.
I didn’t write this just to bitch about moving, here comes the unsolicited advice you’ve all come to love: ASK FOR HELP! As a young father, I want to be the man of the house. I have the picture in my head of what the ideal father is, and it’s really just my dad. My dad is a worker, and he works harder than anyone I know. He is getting something important done seemingly 24/7. Obviously there are breaks for meals, walking the dog, and Jeopardy!, but even his leisure activity is running. The man is a goddamn machine and also an amazing dad. This is the man I want to be. So, when it comes time to move, or budget, or make a big decision, in my head I am going to solve it on my own and get it right the first try. But that is complete and total bullshit. Despite my gut feeling that I need to solve every problem on my own, I constantly ask for help. I have had a lot of practice. You don’t get 5 years sober alone, and early sobriety has taught me that I need to ask for help to survive. This is something that has made its way into every facet of my life. I ask my parents, my friends, and my wife for help all the time. This was something that I struggled with for a while, but it is something that I feel so strongly about now. Asking for help is critical, whether its help with a diaper change, moving a couch, or needing a basement to stay in, you can’t get it if you don’t ask.
There is such a huge stigma surrounding how to feed your baby.
Let me kick off this post by letting every mama know that as long as your baby is growing, happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter how you choose to feed them.
I didn’t think I would ever like breastfeeding. Growing up, I never dreamed about breastfeeding my future child(ren). I was very indifferent on the topic all the way up until Emily was born.
The first time she latched and breastfed was the most magical moment of my life. You can see that moment here.
From that moment on I was very adamant about strictly breastfeeding. We, of course, had formula at the house as a backup, but I only wanted to use that in the event of an emergency (infection in my breasts, supply disappears, etc).
Come mid-November, things had changed. When Emily got super hungry, she would refuse to latch. It was take near an hour to get her to latch to eat a decent meal. It was so frustrating every time I tried to feed her, as she would fall off or refuse my breasts.
Breast milk is stored in the milk ducts, which aren’t just readily available at first suck. The ducts themselves need to be stimulated (whether by pump, mouth, hand) and it takes up to 2 minutes for the milk to truly be released. Emily HATED that. She wanted milk right then and there. And there were times I couldn’t provide that for her.
One extremely bad night ended in hyperventilating crying from me and Emily, words between me and Connor, and I finally broke and made a bottle with formula. It was so hard for me to make the decision to give her a bottle of milk that wasn’t my own, but she needed to eat and I wasn’t producing.
She sucked the formula down, didn’t die, and fell right to sleep.
No harm no foul. The seal was broken (literally).
Moving forward, we agreed that when Emily was having a particularly rough feed, if I didn’t have breast milk pumped, she would have a formula bottle.
Fast forward to the 3 month milk supply drop. At around 3 months, your milk supply regulates. You’re only producing what and when your baby is demanding to be fed.
Em started getting more and more frustrated around meal times when the milk wouldn’t be readily available, but I was also producing a lot less than I should have been.
Following my diagnosis of COVID-19, I began feeding Em more formula and began pumping less, only breastfeeding overnight (if needed). She was sleeping 7 hours a night so we would feed her a bottle around 10 and she would go until 6:30 in the morning before needing food.
This trend continued marvelously. Emily wasn’t really breastfeeding, and was maybe once or twice a week suckling for comfort.
2 weeks ago from yesterday (February 16), was the last night I breastfed my baby girl. It’s a little sad! Such a huge part of your infants life, the food that kept her alive and growing made solely from your body, no more.
While I’m a little sad that chapter of our relationship has ended, I know that moving to formula full time was and is the best thing for us. Now, Emily is starting solids (yay!) and is still a happy and healthy girl.
I feel guilty that I had such a stigma surrounding formula. No matter how your baby gets fed- breastfeeding, pumped breast milk, formula, what have you- is the right way.
Since having Emily, I have lost my baby weight, making it back to my pre-pregnancy weight… and then I gained it all back.
I gained back 12 pounds in 4 months.
That is NOT a good feeling. I am not carrying it in my arms, or legs, or butt… but in my GUT. My belly is a foreign country compared to the rest of my body.
Yes, I grew a human. Yes, my body went through severe trauma with having a c-section. Yes, my body will never look the same as it did prior to delivering Emily. And I don’t want it to… but I am not happy with the body I have now.
I am proud of what my body went through to bring our baby girl into this world, but that doesn’t mean I am okay with the number on the scale. It doesn’t mean I am okay with my diastasis recti or my mommy fupa. I don’t hate my body- but I want to make it something that I can look into the mirror and say, “This body delivered a baby. This body is strong. I can play with my daughter. I won’t get tired running around at the park or going sledding. This is the body that I am proud to show off.”
It has been well over a year since I have done any strenuous physical activity. This month. February. I began my workout with Blogilates.
I have NEVER been one to sway from workout classes/trainers. I cannot go to the gym and create a workout on my own. I need motivation. I need someone pushing me to do the last squat or pushup. I mean, I was a dancer for 18 years, competitive for 12 of those. I know a thing or two about structure.
Cassey Ho is INCREDIBLE! I had never done a pilates class before, and LET. ME. TELL. YOU. 4 months postpartum or not, she KICKED MY ASS!
I started last week with a quick tone challenge from her as I awaited her February workout calendar to drop. I swear I thought all of my limbs were going to fall off.
At one point during her No Weights Arm Sculpting challenge, I took a wine break… have I reached peak mom? Pilates and wine…? Send help.
I am so excited and proud of myself for deciding to truly get back into shape. Connor and I have changed our eating habits tremendously and now it is time to incorporate physical activity. I want my daughter to be motivated by her mothers motivation. And I truly believe that she will.
Stay tuned each week as I update you on my weight loss journey!
We have a 3-month old. We were so careful. We go to the grocery store, the doctors, and have only seen immediate family (sisters and parents) since September. In fact, the last people we saw had tested negative 2 days prior.
So how did we contract COVID? The truth is, we don’t know.
2020 was the absolute best year for Connor and myself. I know we can’t say the same for many other individuals across America, but we had a banner year. Getting engaged, finding out we were expecting, moving across the country, getting married, and giving birth to our beautiful daughter- nothing could top 2020.
Well, the universe decided that the Whiteley/Dupre household needed a wrench thrown into our life.
On New Year’s Day, Connor and I woke up with sore throats and stuffy noses. Now, we both have seasonal allergies and we’re overdue for colds, so we didn’t think much of it. We went about our day. The next morning, around 3:30am, I got up to feed Em. Connor woke up with me asking for an extra blanket because he had the chills… uh-oh.
After I fed Em, we took his temperature and saw he had a fever of 101.2. I didn’t have a fever. Well, fuck.
I put Em back in her room and retreated down the the living room.
Since Saturday, Emily and I have been living on the first floor of our house, and Connor has been living in our bedroom. Since the only out of the ordinary symptoms I had were a stuffy nose, we didn’t think I’d have COVID… but we’re certain he did. Fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, and a dry cough encompassed Connor as we went through the weekend.
On Monday, we drove to CVS to take COVID tests (sent through the lab for near accurate results). I’m still with Em downstairs.
Wednesday morning, results come in. Connor: Positive. Jenn: Negative. What? How could that be? We live together. Breathe the same air. Slept in the same bed up until 3:30am on Saturday. There was no way.
Well, Connor was still having the same symptoms, minus the fever, and I had only developed more congestion. It felt like a sinus infection.
I called my OBGYN yesterday and scheduled another COVID test. If it was indeed negative, Em and I were packing up and heading to my moms for a few days (she had COVID last month, and is no longer contagious/able to get it for 3 months).
Well, plot twist. I woke up this morning, Thursday, with a little more congestion. Took some Advil, nothing to worry about. Then, my beautiful daughter pooped. Unusual for first thing in the morning, but an impressive size.
I was laughing at how much she pooped, when I realized… I couldn’t smell it. I couldn’t smell my 3-month olds breast milk/formula poops. Oh FUCK!
Upon further investigation , I couldn’t smell or taste my morning clementine or tea.
The loss of taste/smell is one of the last and newest symptoms of the beloved COVID.
The worst part of all? Here is what we did last week: went to Emily’s doctor for her 3 month checkup. Went to the grocery store. Wore masks. Umm… what, COVID?
We are going on day 7/8 of symptoms, which means we only have about another 5-7 days of quarantining in our own house.
Thank you to our wonderful mother’s for doing our laundry and bringing us groceries. We couldn’t do it without you.
I know there are so many families who didn’t have the COVID that we do. We are so lucky that we have mild cases, the worst symptom being Connor’s fever. As long as Miss Emily doesn’t develop a fever (which I would think she won’t this late in the game) we are on the road to recovery.
Thank you for reading! Wear your masks. Be safe. It’s all going to be okay.
Welcome to Connor’s Corner, where I give unwarranted advice, tell stories I think are funny / insightful, and try not to piss off my beautiful wife too much.
While Jenn has chronicled our journey from dating in LA to marriage and parenthood in Connecticut, I’d like to focus small for my first entry. Looking at the first week we spent with our amazing daughter, I want to focus on what I believe to be the two most important things of early fatherhood: Find a job you excel at, and find a shitty job you don’t mind doing. The second is IMMENSELY more important, but I like them both.
Here are my two:
SWADDLE THAT BABY
For all my Four Christmasesfans out there, I can’t say the word swaddle without thinking about the mega church scene in that movie. As we head into the Christmas season, I highly recommend watching it. Anyway, the job I excelled at was swaddling. We dubbed it the “daddy swaddle” in our house. While Jenn was recovering from the incredibly taxing surgery which gave us a FUCKING BABY (still blows my mind), I was taking in every iota of information from the nurses I could. Like the procrastinator I am, I didn’t read too much of my What to Expect book. I got through about the first month and thought I’d learn from there. I knew babies wanted to be swaddled, but I didn’t understand how important a good swaddle can be.
The first time the nurse showed us how to swaddle, Jenn wasn’t cleared to stand yet, so the duty fell on my shoulders. Maybe it’s my love of burritos or that I was a bit of a stoner in high school, but goddamn can I swaddle. After the first time the nurse showed me, I could get a pretty good swaddle, one more tutorial and I was a machine. I was all in, I swaddled every chance I could get. There were plenty of times where she wouldn’t stop crying, then I got a tight swaddle on her and boom: happy baby. Not only did my swaddling make her feel better, but it made me start to feel confident as a dad. I had almost no idea what I was doing, but I could swaddle and comfort her, and that’s all that mattered in the moment. I HIGHLY recommend perfecting the art of the swaddle for all new dads, but if it just isn’t your thing, find something else. It helped me bond with Emily, gain confidence in myself, and give Jenn a break while she was recovering.
2. Change the Diaper: Shit Ain’t Shit
Since Jenn was still not cleared to stand, the early diaper changes were left to me. I was a little nervous, I’ve always had a weak stomach (sympathetic puker) but I was hoping it wouldn’t extend to diaper changes. When I changed her first diaper, I wasn’t phased in the slightest. The black sludge that comes out in the beginning may be sticky, but that’s all it is. There’s no issue dealing with that. Since Jenn was still recovering, I took most of the diaper changes. Even as Jenn began to recover more, I was quick to take the diaper change. With the amount of eating infants do, I wanted to give Jenn a break by taking the diapers. We had a good system, Emily would cry, Jenn pops her on a tit, I change and swaddle. Like clockwork, Emily went from screaming to warm, dry, and sleepy.
Since time has past and the black sludge turns to yellow mustard seeds, I’ve continued to be the diaper changer. I don’t always change now that I work during the days and Jenn is allowed to walk around, but I’d like to think I take most of them when I can (don’t ask Jenn to confirm). The real important thing to me is that I can take one more burden of of Jenn’s shoulders, while looking like a superhero. Many of my friends asked about how bad diaper changes are, and the answer is they aren’t at all. Of course she’s still only eating breast milk, so ask me again when she’s got McDonald’s coming out of her, but for now diapers ain’t shit. Finding the seemingly shitty job that you don’t mind not only helps your partner, but it makes you look good. And here at Connor’s Corner, were all about looking good.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first post and I’m looking forward to sharing more of our journey into parenthood, and too all my soon-to-be dads out there, find your two things before you leave the hospital!
Family is the most important thing to Connor and I.
Finding out almost 11 months ago that we were expecting our first child, family became the topic of almost every conversation… at least every conversation that didn’t involve money.
Connor grew up in Massachusetts and I grew up in New Jersey. both of our immediate families are still based there (spare my father in Texas and Connor’s sister in Brooklyn). Living in Los Angeles at the time of the pregnancy news, we both knew that moving back to be near family was the right thing to do- not only for us, but for our child and for our family.
Now that we are back East, and have been since April, making sure we see our family as much as possible is at the top of our to-do list.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, Emily had her FIRST overnight trip! Well, first overnight since being earth-side. We drove up to Massachusetts and spent the weekend with the Whiteley family. It was a surprisingly calm trip! Emily slept the entire 2.5 hour car ride, and didn’t have any inkling of a tantrum during our time at the Whiteley house.
While that was the case for Emily, mommy and daddy didn’t get off to the best start of the weekend.
Usually when going on a weekend trip, Connor and I pack one bag for the two of us, ONE. MAYBE two if we need to bring our laptops and/or books for any reason. And, mind you, these are the types of small-ish, over the shoulder, duffle bags from Victorias Secret or Target. One bag.
Now that we have our (wonderful) baby in the picture, packing for an overnight went from taking 30 minutes to throw our stuff together and get in the car, to almost an hour and 30 minutes… on a good day.
That 1.5 hours includes (but is not limited to):
Getting Emily dressed
Feeding the cats and leaving them Food Mountain
Cleaning/changing their litter box
Packing the diaper bag (including medicines, vitamins, diapers and diaper accessories, pajamas, outfits, and of course EXTRAS in case of spit up)
Packing our own overnight bag(s), now with extra shirts in case of spit up
The bouncy seat
Books for story time
Baby bathtub and bathing necessities
SHOULD I GO ON?!
Seriously. This is not half of what we need. Instead of taking our time, meandering out the door and heading to Dunkin for a coffee, we now run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to gather up everything needed for our baby. Fun fact: we always forget something.
While packing for overnights is very stressful and time consuming, we can’t take for granted the quality time we get to spend with our family.
Here is a list of everything we pack for Em, plus a few more detailed explanations of our favorite baby products!
This stuff works WONDERS for Miss Em’s belly. She is a very very VERY gassy baby, and the second Gripe Water hits her little belly. you can literally hear and feel the bubbles breaking up as it works its way through her gut. 10/10 will always recommend.
We use AVENT Soothers. They are the ones they give out at the hospital- fully rubber with a little hole for your finger to go in to help your baby latch better. We have the hospital one, plus a few pink and purple teddy bear ones!
Poop bag- legit a doggy poop bag to put dirty diapers in on the go!
Teether for future use just good to have on you!
Burp cloth x2
Receiving blanketThis is good to have in case you need a cover for the carseat from the sun/if your baby falls asleep in the store and you need to cover them from the light
Also good to use as a blanket
Outfit x2Your baby will spit up
Footie/Nightgown x3See above
EXTRAS FOR ME
Organic Nipple butterGood to keep on you if your baby has trouble latching or if you have cracked.dry nipples
I use One A Day!
This is super important. While exclusively breastfeeding, I have a 2-4% chance of becoming pregnant. Partner that with a mini-pill (progesterone only) and I have a 1% chance of getting pregnant. No more babies!
Advil or Tylonel
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
We have the Fisher-Price Sweet Snuggamonkey Deluxe Bouncer. Emily LOVES this thing. It has functions to play music, play white noise, and vibrate. These seats also has the ability to be rocked by your own foot (putting pressure on the seat legs) and by the baby’s own movements as they grow older.
It’s been three weeks since our world grew. THREE WEEKS since Emily Ruth entered our lives. The time is flying yet crawling simultaneously. Looking at her, it feels like she has been in our lives for years.
Motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be- both the good and the bad.
While 99% of the talk of having a baby is exactly that- the baby- the other 1% is just as important to take about. Postpartum recovery is nothing short of amazing and incredibly tiring. The physical and mental hurdles that a mother has to face once her child is born is not something that you can prepare for ahead of time. With raising a child, you can read all of the best books, all of Heidi Murkoff’s What To Expect series. You can take in all of the advice from your mom, mother-in-law, friends, coworkers, and strangers at the Subaru dealership. Raising a baby is something that every mother has done, and every mother will have “the answer”.
When it comes to your own postpartum recovery, no one has “the answer”.
My Postpartum Health
Physically, I feel amazing. I LOOK amazing. My body went through the most amazing journey these past 10 months. It created (with the help of Connor) and grew a HUMAN! A legitimate, tiny version of us. The female body… Growing up I always wondered what my pregnant body would look like. Would my belly be round or hang low? Would I gain a lot of weight in my thighs? Would my feet grow? Well, let me say that before giving birth, I truly never felt more beautiful than I did during pregnancy. I LOVED my belly. I began to appreciate my stretch marks. While I felt like I was going to fall asleep at any moment, and sitting/standing/walking/living made everything hurt, I loved what my body was doing.
After giving birth to our daughter, my perception of my body changed again. Now, 3 weeks PP, I can truly say that I have never been more beautiful than I am now. Yes, my stomach quite literally shrunk down and I weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy. My face is a bit thinner, although it is now graced with tired bags under my eyes. But those aren’t the reasons I love my NEW body.
My stretch marks are beautiful, natural symbols of what my body went through to create our daughter. In my uterus, I grew our child along with her placenta, an organ that my body created to sustain our daughter’s life for the 9.5 months she was inside of me.
My breasts, as HUGE as they are, are currently creating the milk that my daughter will eat and live off of until she can begin eating solid foods. Every 2 hours, my milk “comes in”, pins and needles and all, biologically knowing when it is time to feed our baby girl. One month ago, I was not pleased at the way my breasts looked- they were so different than my pre-pregnancy breasts. But now, I look at them with awe as I watch Emily eat from them 10 times a day.
My c-section scar is the most beautiful mark on my body. It showcases what my body went through to bring Emily into the world. It is healing beautiful and I can’t wait to show it off. My body is beautiful.
I have not yet been cleared to work out. I try to take a long, daily walk with Emily to keep up my physical and mental stamina. I do the laundry, wash the dishes, and tidy up around the house. in 4 weeks, I should be cleared to begin working out, getting myself on a physical journey that will make me feel good inside and out.
My mental postpartum journey hasn’t been as rewarding as my physical one. No one can prepare you for what you feel inside after giving birth. The second Emily was out of me. my extremely elevated hormones plummeted into the basement and deeper. What has been so high during pregnancy to ensure that my daughter was getting what she needed was suddenly gone, and I was the one who had to mentally calibrate that change.
It has NOT been easy. As someone who gets overwhelmed easily, has anxiety especially surrounding major changes (uhh having a baby), and overthinks every little thing that crosses her path, this new chapter in my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Lack of sleep aside, it has been difficult to work through my emotions when it comes to dealing with Emily. Yesterday was one of the more difficult days we had. Connor working from home is amazing, but it doesn’t mean he can help all of the time. My frustration levels rise very quickly, especially when I have to race naked down the stairs after just getting out of the shower to retrieve our crying child before she interrupts a work call. The dishes are never done. we had a pile of laundry so high it didn’t fit into 2 baskets. Emily’s clothes haven’t been folded or put away in 2 weeks.
Yes, she is my daughter. Yes, I love her more than anyone and anything in this world. Yes, she annoys the crap out of me and sometimes I just want to yell at her to shut the fuck up (which I did yesterday to no avail). Being a mother is NOT easy. Being a mother to a newborn is even harder. It is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done… but the reward of looking at my daughter with my husband is beyond worth it. All of the times I sit here blaming myself for not being a good mom because I can’t get my daughter to stop crying mean nothing compared to the joy I get while breastfeeding her, or the thought of her in a month from now smiling and laughing at her daddy tickling her little belly.
Postpartum is the fourth trimester of pregnancy, the one that has such a stigma over it that women are afraid to even say the word. It is incredibly difficult to raise a child with NO prior knowledge. It is even more difficult to accept that your life has changed forever. That your relationship with your husband has changed forever. That you will never be doing anything solely for yourself. And that is okay. None of the above has to turn into a bad change. You embrace what has come with this tiny bundle of poop and love and you do what you need to do to ensure that the other areas of your life thrive.
Emily Ruth’s Update
Let’s talk about our little Emily Ruth! It is SO hard to believe that our baby girl has spent three whole weeks on this earth. The time has flown… yet it has also dragged. Anyone else feel that??
Emily is amazing. Watching her grow, seeing her discover new things (as much as a 3 week old baby can discover), seeing the changes in her body and mind already… there is nothing better. She is SO STRONG! She was able to hold her own head/neck up at 1.5 weeks… for real. It was amazing to watch! She bops around, she kicks and grabs our hair. It’s incredible watching her figure out what different parts of her body can do.
The day we brought her home, we noticed physical changes in her- in just the 2 days we had her! In utero, babies absorb a TON of hormones from the mother. I mean, think about it. For 9-10 months, a woman is growing a baby. She has the biggest influx of hormones she will ever have in her life. She doesn’t get her period, meaning that this influx of hormones is stopping her body from doing something it has been doing once a month since she was 13. Her hormones have to sustain this new life that is growing inside of her.
Once the baby is born, the hormones received from the mother begin to expel from that little body in various ways. Emily had what you would call “period-like symptoms” for about a week and a half following her birth. She had discharge from her little tee-tee, both milky-like and bloody. This was a hugeeeee shock to Connor and I, giving her her first at-home bath and seeing this… blob… come out of our daughter’s privates. It is 110% normal in female infants, though, so nothing to worry about!
Way #2 to expel the mothers’ hormones- enlarged breast tissue and leaking from the nipples. Again- SO WEIRD if you haven’t read about it/haven’t had other children. This is most common in females, while male infants may have an enlarged scrotum as they expel their mothers’ hormones. Again, this is completely normal, just a little jarring for first time parents to see.
Way #3, and the most common form of hormones, is baby acne. About a week ago, Emily started developing baby acne on her little forehead. It has since spread down her nose and cheeks, onto her scalp and chest, and the back of her neck. This acne has shown in tiny little red and white bumps and has made her skin very dry. Her face is about 75% cleared up now, with dry and red patches scattered around. Seeing acne in a baby is so strange, as I’m sure it will be when she gets her first pimple during puberty.
The most exciting thing this week- her umbilical cord FINALLY fell off! Our baby girl has a bellybutton at long last ❤
I mean, come ON!!! Look at her little bellybutton! I think she’s gonna gave an outie!
Bath time is still hard. We figured out that rather than be washed with a washcloth, Emily likes when you soap up your own hands and bathe her that way. I think she finds it more soothing. She doesn’t start crying until the last 2 minutes, when we wash her hair. She doesn’t like the water running over her face, us covering her ears, or the cold feeling she gets once the shampoo is rinsed out. Poor baby!
Emily has officially met her entire immediate family. It has been wonderful watching our parents and sisters meet her for the first time. Emily is all of their first grandchildren, which means she gets SPOILED! It’s good for mommy and daddy- we don’t have to spend a dime! Emily will get to grow up knowing my mom, dad. and stepmom, and Connor’s parents. She will ALSO get to grow up knowing her GREAT GRANDPARENTS (my grandparents). That is something that is so rare, I cherish the fact that she gets to know two of the people so close to my heart… and now hers!
We love this little girl. It’s still hard to believe she is only three weeks old. Were have our entire lifetimes with this bundle of joy. I can’t wait to witness her first smile, to hear her laugh, to watch her crawl and walk and live and grow into her own person. Our beautiful baby girl is ours forever and ever.
Next week I will be publishing a blog post highlighting the most useful products I have found for both postpartum recovery and for living with a newborn. Subscribe to 2 Cats and a Bébé to stay up to date on my posts going forward!!
One week ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful, most perfect, most incredible little girl. I cannot believe it has already been one week… while Connor can’t believe it’s ONLY been one week.
While we’re all doing great, my physical recovery is moving at the speed of light, and my emotional recovery is slowly on the up and up, Emily’s arrival did not come without a few (thousand) hiccups.
Emily’s arrival into this world began with a very false water break the morning of Sunday, September 27th. Having never gone into labor before, I wasn’t sure if my water slightly broke or if I was just having an increase in discharge. Amniotic fluid is clear/straw colored and has no smell- the stuff leaking out of me was exactly that, but it wasn’t a gush or a trickle. Being 41+1, we didn’t want to risk anything, so we called the Dr., packed up our stuff, and left for the hospital.
We arrived at Norwalk Hospital around 10:00am. Upon arrival, we both got our temperatures taken and were brought into our private Labor and Delivery room. I instantly got COVID-19 tested (negative!) and got blood drawn. I also had my oral temperature taken every hour while there.
I got hooked up to fetal monitoring devices to register Emily’s heart rate and my contractions (if any). I was also given an IV drip for fluids and was given an antibiotic for Group B Strep. Group B Strep is a bacteria that 1 in 4 women have on their genitals. It is not harmful to the mother, but could be harmful if passed to the baby via vaginal birth- the antibiotics prevent that!
Once the doctor arrived, she examined my cervix and checked for any dilation and effacement. The conclusion was: I was STILL, after 4 WEEKS, only 1cm dilated with about 40% effacement. My water had indeed not broken, and I was nowhere near giving birth to our daughter. We talked about our options for delivery, including administering Pitocin to induce contractions, when we began talking about my scoliosis surgery.
I had surgery to correct a 50/50 curve in my back 10 years ago when I was 15. I had Harrington Rods put into my back on either side of my spine to prevent any more curvature. The robs themselves extend from the bottom of my neck to the top of my lumbar- quite a lot of rods! Since I had the surgery 10 years ago, we never discussed how that would affect my future prospects with having children- something that has been on my mind since then.
Regardless of talking about my surgery and rods with my OB, they didn’t seem to understand the severity of them. Because the natural birthing position is on your back, pushing, while curling your back into a C shape (which I cannot do physically), the doctors recommended considering a C-Section. Even if I was given Pitocin, labor may not have started for hours, even days, and could have ended in a C-Section anyway. Connor and I took time alone to discuss this, as it was a complete 180 from my original plan of a natural birth. We agreed that it would be the best thing for me so that I wouldn’t be in pain, wouldn’t risk breaking my tail bone, and wouldn’t be stressed while trying to deliver our baby.
We scheduled the surgery for 1:00pm the next day, September 28th- my own birthday! They gave me all of the pre-op information, including that I needed to stop drinking/eating after midnight, and I needed to prep the surgical area with special sterile wipes.
We were so excited that in 24 hours we would have our little girl!
The next morning at 7:30am I received a phone call from the doctor stating that they had made a scheduling mistake. They scheduled the delivering doctor twice- one for a gynecological surgery on top of my C-Section. This meant that they wouldn’t be able to deliver Emily on the date and time initially promised. We were devastated. We were so looking forward to meeting baby girl. We rescheduled for 7:30am the following morning- September 29th. We were able to enjoy my birthday in peace and quiet, one last day as a family of 2.
Overnight, I went into labor. I didn’t know it was labor at the time! I had intense pelvic pain and pressure and couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit or lay in. These pain periods would come in waves and wouldn’t last a very long time. Around 9:00pm, I noticed that they were coming almost exactly every 20 minutes, and were to the point that I had diarrhea or vomiting with every contraction. And that’s when it hit me… I was in labor.
The contractions were far enough apart where I knew we didn’t need to go to the hospital. especially because we had a scheduled C-Section not 7 hours later. I mustered up enough strength, mentally and physically, and got through them.
We left for the hospital around 4:00am after feeding two very confused kitties. I didn’t need another COVID-19 test, as my first one came back negative. We did a little more bloodwork and got my vitals taken. I didn’t need to be administered penicillin since I was having a C-Section. It was an easy morning so far!
My delivering doctor came in and we spoke about the C-Section, I signed a consent form, and waited to speak to the anesthesiologist about my spinal block. The spinal block was going to be put in place to numb me from below my breasts to the tips of my toes- I wouldn’t feel a thing.
About eight years ago, my maternal aunt was diagnosed with malignant hypothermia. She had an allergic reaction to general anesthesia and was in danger of dying. She had amazing doctors who took care of her and she made it out alright, but this was something so new and unheard of for us that we didn’t know what it meant. It is something that is hereditary, and my mother has yet to get tested, so every step of the way I made sure to note that this was a possibiltiy going into surgery.
Things got delayed a bit since our doctor had another delivery down the hall. While we waited I received antibiotics to ward off any infections from the surgery, for compressions socks on, and threw up a few times due to nerves (pro tip: if your procedure is getting close, don’t ask what time it is. You will get nervous and throw up).
Around 8:15-8:30am, our nurse came in and told us there had been a change of plans. Because of the possible deathly reaction to general anesthesia PLUS the Harrington rods, they moved my surgery to the main hospital OR, rather than the maternity OR. That’s not bad- except that if I received general anesthesia, Connor wouldn’t have been able to be in the OR with me. I would also be recovering in the main PACU instead of the maternity recovery ward, which meant I wouldn’t see Emily until I was cleared to go back down to my room in Maternity which could have been up to 3 hours. It all depended on how quickly I got feeling back into my legs and how quickly my vitals went back to normal. That was a little uncool and daunting.
We spoke with the head RN about our options and we’re given the thumbs up that no matter what happened, Connor would be with Emily every step of the way. This was the most important for us. I didn’t want our daughter to be without one of us, even if it meant not breastfeeding her until I made it down to the maternity ward.
What was scheduled for 7:30 didn’t end up kicking off until almost 9:00am. It was nerve wracking, waiting, and scary not knowing what the outcome of the spinal/general would be.
We eventually got up to the OR and Connor headed around the corner to wait for the word on my anesthesia. I was terrified, as I was fully awake and alert heading into the OR… alone… without my husband. Through it all, I was able to receive a very successful spinal block! I was scared shitless, was shaking quite a bit, and ended up crying pretty heavily (from pain/pressure, embarrassment, and utter nerves about the procedure and having a child), but our anesthesiologist was FANTASTIC. He calmed me down, talked to me thru the administration of the anesthesia, snd was truly there for me every step of the way. Our main nurse also allowed me to squeeze the absolute shit out of her hands, and all of the doctors and nurses complimented my tattoos- anything to get my mind off of the pain in the small of my back.
Once laid on the bed, I had a catheter put in, and Connor was brought in the room. They hung up a curtain so we couldn’t see what was going on. We didn’t go south of the wall!
I was completely numb from the underboob down, and was given a nice, heavy dosage of pain meds which made me a little loopy. I was constantly asking if my arms were okay, as I had lost some feeling in them as well. I was also given medication for anxiety and nausea- the two go hand in hand for me.
Our OB spoke to us through the whole procedure, telling us when I would feel pressure and what they were doing. I honestly couldn’t feel a thing. Not 10 minutes later, our fantastic OB said “There’s her head! Full of hair.” and the PA showed us our baby girl. Connors arm was in the way so I couldn’t really get a good look, but hearing her cry was all I needed to know she was healthy.
Emily Ruth Whiteley. Born on September 29th, 2020 at 9:49am Norwalk Hospital. 6lbs 15.3 oz, 20 inches long. She is perfect.
The PA called Connor over to the weigh station where he was able to watch her get her weight checked for the first time. After a few minutes, Connor brought her over to me and put her cheek on my cheek. She was the tiniest baby I had ever seen, and so flipping adorable (and that’s not just the pain meds talking). I immediately knew she was 100% her father.
Connor got whisked away to the recovery room while I remained getting stitched up. Once everything was done and cleaned (only another 20 minutes more) I was brought to the recovery room where I saw Connor. We ended up going to the main OR PACU so that we could be close to the anesthesia desk, but we were out in our own private room. This was a huge advantage because it meant that after 45 min we could meet Emily!
Once she was brought up from L&D, we immediately started skin to skin contact and I breastfed her for the first time. It was the most magical moment- I started crying once she latched on (without a hitch I might add) as did Connor. Watching our daughter feed from my breast is something that will never get old. Until she gets old! It was truly beautiful.
I became nauseous quickly due to excitement and overwhelming emotions, so Emily was brought down to our maternity room with Connor. I stayed to make sure that I could move my legs before we headed down. I also needed to make sure my heart rate was approved since it was pretty high due to anxiety and throwing up.
I made it down to the maternity ward around 12:30- just under 3 hours after Emily was born.
Giving birth was nothing how I imagined it would be- and I would NEVER trade my experience for anything else. I love my daughter. I love my husband. I love what my body did for us. And I cannot wait to see what life has in store for our family of three.
Who would have thunk that we would be here? 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant! Emily is just too comfortable in there.
I had my 40+ week appointment yesterday with my wonderful OB in Westport, and everything went swimmingly… except there is still no baby, haha! Emily is a healthy and tiny little baby. She was sucking her thumb during the entire ultrasound. She is the CUTEST THING and I just can’t wait to see her outside of a (very well done) 3D image.
We have our fingers crossed that I go into labor naturally this week, but if that doesn’t happen, I will get induced late next week. There is a chance we will have an October baby!
HOW FAR ALONG? 40 weeks and 2 days!
DUE DATE? September 19th was her due date- we clearly passed that! She WILL however be here within the next 10 days, whether naturally or with a little help from our friend Pitocin.
SIZE?: Emily is the size of a small pumpkin! Her ultrasound yesterday put her at around 6lb 12oz! A tiny, tiny little nugget.
WEIGHT GAIN? Hanging around 168! In total I gained 18lbs this pregnancy.
NAME? Emily Ruth Whiteley ❤
HOW AM I FEELING?: Anxious. Impatient. Energetic. All of the emotions!
CRAVINGS?: Chocolate Fudge Poptarts. Pickles. Salt and Vinegar chips. 7 layer dip but without the beans, lettuce, and olive… so 4 layer dip. Really just guacamole.
AVERSIONS?: Honestly everything, even the above. My stomach has been totally messed up the past few weeks.
PHYSICAL CHANGES?: Just more stretch marks! Another new discovery this week- my hair has gained a lotttttt of blonde in it these past 9 months.
BABY MOVEMENT?: Emily goes back and forth with her movements. She has turned to just small kicks and rolls during the day, with her dance moves spiking between 6pm-10pm. She clearly has a schedule down… but is it the schedule mommy and daddy want?
BELLY BUTTON?: Flat flat flat- except when she curls up. Then you can grab it. It’s gross, lol!
MOST EXCITED ABOUT?: Learning and growing as parents with Connor. Having a baby is something that you can’t 100% prepare for… you learn as you go with your partner and your child.
LEAST EXCITED ABOUT?: Right now? Nothing. I am just taking one day at a time and relishing in the fact that I am having a child with the man I love.
PRENATAL VITAMINS?: I am taking One A Day Women’s Prenatal Advanced Multivitamin with Brain Support. They’re great! There is a separate vitamin for Folic Acid, an important Vitamin B that promotes cell development and growth. You can find these on Amazon here!
SKINCARE?: I have naturally veryyyy oily skin. For the first 6 months of pregnancy, my skin cleared up of any oils and acne. It was amazing! Once I hit the third trimester, my skin decided to revolt. My pores became clogged again, my skin was slick, and I didn’t know how to combat it. My sister turned me onto these products:
Youth to the PeopleSuperfood Antioxidant Cleanser. This cleanser from Sephora is a GAME CHANGER! 1. It smells heavenly. 2. The formula of the cleanser makes my skin soft and leaves off the oils for hours. My skin already feels cleaner after using it for only a few weeks. I use it in the morning and pair it with…
CeraVé Daily Moisturizing Lotion. This moisturizer brings back color and life into my skin. It’s not heavy and absorbs right into your pores for a healthy glow.
At night, I use CeraVé Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This cleanser helps get all of the first and grime from throughout the day off of my face. It’s the perfect cleanser for the evening as it assists in taking off makeup, AND it’s fragrance free!
SUPPLEMENTS?: I have recently partnered with Mary Ruth Organics! I began taking their Vitamin C supplements (orange and vanilla flavored) once per day. Vitamin C is found in various types of food, but is very commonly used as a supplement during cold and flu season. I usually take a vitamin C pill supplement when sick, but have recently begun using Mary Ruth Organics. Note: Mary Ruth Organics are not verified by the Food and Drug Administration. Their products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
We are officially OVERDUE! Fingers crossed she arrives naturally this week ❤
Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season. Not only was I born in fall (September 28), but literally every detail that is associated with Fall excites me beyond belief! Hot chocolate. Pumpkin pie (making it AND eating it). Warm apple cider. Warm apple cider donuts. You name it, I love it! Coincidentally, most of my wardrobe consists of Fall colors, too.
It is looking more and more like Emily is going to be a Fall baby too- or at least right on the cusp!
Her due date is Saturday (September 19), but it really doesn’t look like she will be arriving any time soon. In order to self-soothe from not having a baby here, I did a little retail therapy and bought justtt a few Fall decorations to make the house look a little more festive and not so… mixed.
I went to both Target and Michaels for these decorations, as they are both the best stores to go to. Michaels is having a wonderful sale on Fall decor (40% off everything!) and Target has amazing clearance or small items that are perfect to place around the home.
I found these ADORABLE plush pumpkins and acorns in the back corner of Target today. They are the perfect decoration to put in our little glass display vase from Threshold! I couldn’t find the exact vase I have, but I linked a smaller one above!
The pumpkins come in a pack of 8 and are tweed with a lovely stitch design. They are currently both in store and online for $8.00!
The acorns come in a pack of 8 as well, and are made out of felt. They are both in store and online for $5.00.
I think a good holiday doormat can brighten up any entryway! Our front porch has had the same doormat for the past 5 months, and I figured it was time to get a new one- what better time than a change in season?!
I found this punny doormat by Threshold for only $12.99, both in stores and online. It’s the perfect addition to the porch and is one that I will be keeping around for a while!
First off, let me preface by saying that Michael’s is currently having a SALE on all of their fall decor! Both in-store and online, decor and foliage is 40% off. THAT’S RIGHT! 40%!!!
What a steal.Michael’s is honestly crack for me. I can get lost in that store for hours and end up spending WAY more than I thought I was going to… which is usually $0. My husband has needed to literally hold onto my shirt when we walk in there so I won’t wander off and buy unnecessary items.
I’ve been seeing a lot of people decorate with garland more and more, so I decided to give it a try. I found this adorable Gold Print Maple Leaf Garland for $14.99 ($8.99 after discount) and wrapped it around the railings on our front porch.
Each garland is about 6′ long, so it was the perfect for the railings. I bought 3 sets (not sure why I didn’t just go for 4) but I was able to use the 3rd garland inside on our stair railing.
It’s the perfect decoration if you don’t have a lot to spend and you’re looking to just spruce up your home for the new season/holiday.
I found this adorable sign, “Welcome to our Patch” for only $16.99 ($10.19 after discount). You can choose to either hang it or stand it up on a flat surface (it comes with the stand already attached). We don’t have a ton of (useable) surfaces in our house, so I chose to put it in the corner of our stair landing! This way everyone can see it when they’re in the house, AND I don’t have to worry about it taking up surface space!
This exact sign isn’t available online, but I am linking a similar one here.
How CUTE is this sign?!
My husband and I absolutely love pumpkin pie. Last year I made my first homemade pumpkin pie and it turned out delicious. Walking up and down the aisle at Michael’s I found this sign (along with a pecan pie one, but we aren’t fans of pecan pie). I thought this would be the PERFECT wall hanging in our home. It’s festive and colorful enough to bring the fall colors into the home without screaming FALL!
This sign was priced at $16.99 ($10.19 after the discount). It is not available online, but IS available in stores- while supplies last! Since this one isn’t available, I am linking another sign that I fell in love with here!
Who said scarecrows had to be scary?
This little lady was found in an almost sold out section of the fall decor. Her pumpkin was almost falling out of her hands, but I did a little hot-glue surgery at home!
I haven’t named her yet, but she is a CUTIE! She was only $26.99 ($16.59 after discount) and can only be found in store. Go snag her or her siblings while they’re in stock!
Even though we are on such a tight budget due to Emily being born ANY DAY, I was able to splurge and find awesome deals on the cutest fall decor. Just the smallest things make the biggest difference in our home.