Mothers Mental Gymnastics – A Postpartum Experience

I’ve never been one to publicly talk much about my mental health struggles but being postpartum I’ve been told It’s important to let it out.

But as a perfectionist and of stubborn Irish-Italian descent…It’s so hard. Getting used to responsibilities of keeping the tiny human alive is a huge change in routine.

Then there are those moments for myself when baby is sleeping where I try to figure out who the hell I am. Those moments I seem to struggle with the most. Adjusting to limitations with COVID on top of all that is just the proverbial straw on the camels back.

I feel guilty sometimes leaving her w the hubby because I see my maternity leave as my “job” to take care of her.

My hubby works remotely from home but his availability and responsibilities can change at a moments notice. He is an amazing father and I knew he would be from the beginning of our relationship over 10yrs ago. I have no doubts in his skills and abilities.

I am learning so much from him already. Things like rushing home and asking him if things are good, are more to calm my brain while I learn to dial things down. It’s just a learning curve to go through at this point.

I was driving to the store the other day and was overwhelmed w the thought “who am I, and who am I now?” Yes I’m now a mom but I’m trying to still find out me. What do I like? Dislike? What are my goals and dreams for ME?

I know I coast along socially with work and family but I’ve never been strong w friendships. I feel like I have trouble making friends but I hate being alone. If that makes sense.

So I am trying to figure out a lot. If you are a new mom and have thoughts that you’re a failure as a mom, are over anxious, or feel out of control please tell your doctor ASAP. Save yourself to help your child. Both of you will benefit.

I told my doc how I’ve been feeling today and just her saying to reach out to people daily, take each victory as it comes, and nothing is going to be consistent to control, only your reactions to them was a huge help.

There was a poster in the exam room explaining the difference between baby blues and true postpartum depression. Blues last about 2weeks, PPD lasts longer and becomes more intense over time. The quicker you communicate the better you will feel.

Finding Our Parenting Groove – Learning as We Go

When people told us to enjoy our sleep while we could before our baby arrived I think we took it lightly.

I won’t speak for Judy but for myself I can say the one thing I didn’t consider or read about was the feeding schedule for the first few months after a child is born.

Our doc said to feed her every two to three hours which means for sure one of us are waking up multiple times through the night.

Before I go any further, let me just state, this is in no way w complaint. While we are both tired and one of us is sleep deprived multiple days of the week, we know it is necessary and we are giving our little one lots of caring and love. Plus it’s a great excuse to just hold her and stare at the beauty we created.

But… there is always a concern that we may sleep through a scheduled feeding and miss it. I can honestly say I was late for one or two by maybe an hour. Hailey wasn’t up crying though and if she was I am sure that would have woken me up.

Only issue we see when we let her sleep longer than two hours is she is harder to put back to sleep and can be fussy when we try to do so. Just like most of us who get a good amount of sleep and wake up feeling productive, she feels the same on three to four hours of sleep. If only four hours was enough for us.

Overall I think we have been really good about her schedule. We keep a log on our fridge so we know when she was fed, how much she was fed as well as what she gifted us in her diaper. All things that our important to keep track of.

We take turns on who will get the restless night and be on baby duty so it works out somewhat. Not going to lie, we are both tired but it truly is the best tired I can think of.

Two nights ago I got about two hours of sleep total and had to work. Thankfully I am still working from home so commuting wasn’t an issue. The idea was the minute I signed off work I would go to sleep. That actually didn’t happen because Hailey gives me so much energy when I am dead tired.

I did end up crashing out on the recliner around 11pm or so and Judy was on baby duty through the night. I really thought I would wake up to relieve Judy but she did such a good job, I heard very little crying and knew everything was under control.

We are still trying to figure out how much to feed Hailey as that is not so consistent but at the same time it is. Some feedings she has about 60 to 70ml, then others she may have 100, then the next she will only have 30ml.

The amounts through the day are not consistent but when you total all the amounts through the last 24 hours, the amounts are consistent with a slight uptick every other day.

As for changings, we were concerned for a few days because she went from pooping five to eight times a day to two a day. We did change her formula and think that may have been the reason since we have now switched back and she has been going more.

As first time parents, everyday is a learning experience and you can read every book about caring for a baby there is. At the end of the day your baby is unique and you just have to learn their specific signals and follow. I feel like most of the stuff I read and made me feel ready has been tossed out the window and I am simply letting Hailey teach me.

Also as any parent would be, you are concerned for baby’s health. The other day she started forming a crust on one of her eyes. At first we weren’t concerned but then it seemed to get worse. Judy scheduled a telehealth appointment with our doc who was able to determine it to be a blocked tear duct and recommended we use saline drops in her nose and gently massage the area around the tear duct.

Thankfully with the saline alone, it appears the eye has cleared up and all is well. Haven’t seen any issues with it through today so we are relieved.

All in all, I believe we are doing a great job and have been learning each and every day. Our girl is simply amazing. She may have a crying fit from time to time but overall she has not been too fussy and we are thankful for that.

It’s hard to believe she has been with us for two weeks already. While two weeks may seem like a short time to some, looking back at our journey to when we first met with our fertility doc, it seemed like time stood still up until the day she was born.

While she came about a week and three days sooner than we expected, I must admit, I am glad she did. I feel like I got an extra week to see her, get to know her and most importantly love her.

All I keep thinking is how wonderful parenthood is and how blessed we are to have her in our lives. We didn’t know what the outcome would be after two miscarriages and I must admit, I was worried about IVF not working after seeing many peoples experiences.

My heart goes out to those who struggle and wish each and every person struggling is blessed with a child of their own. While the process of IVF is not easy, when it pays off it pays off big time.

For two weeks now we have witnessed the miracle that is our daughter and look forward to watching her grow while we do our best to instill values and morals so that she grows up to be a decent kind giving woman. That is now our goal and purpose in life but first, daddy has to learn to stop cursing. Using the F word to describe something isn’t necessary but it is how we spoke on the streets growing up in Brooklyn. Yeah, that’s my excuse but it is something I am working on so she doesn’t grow up hearing it. Wish me F’n luck on that. 🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂


Our Journey has Ended and a New One Begins

Thursday afternoon I was sitting around trying to figure out what needed to be done. Realized I still needed to install the car seats.

Went out at 4:30 and installed them. Afterwards I decided to vacuum the car a bit. As I was doing so, Judy called from her doctors appointment to tell me the doc said we need to go to labor and delivery. She was going to come home so we could go and recommended I install the car seat while she was on her way not knowing that I had already done so.

The second she got home we pretty much jumped in the car and she explained everything. Her blood pressure was high and they wanted her to go to labor and delivery to monitor.

We arrive at the hospital, check in and they put us in a room where Judy was hooked up to monitoring and blood was drawn for lab testing which they said would take about an hour.

We ended up sitting in this room for about two and a half hours with nurses coming and going to check on her. About three hours after being in the room I looked up at the monitor and saw Judy’s blood pressure was over 180 and I began to worry but didn’t want to say anything to further worry her as she was already worried.

As I was about to go out to ask the nurse to check on her, a team of nurses and doctors came running in. Long story short she had preeclampsia which is common when it comes to IVF pregnancy’s.

They immediately put her on a magnesium drip to protect her because they were afraid she would have a seizure. This experience as she explains was the worst thing she ever felt. She described it as a terrible sunburn from the inside. To try to alleviate the heat she felt, they gave her multiple ice packs which seemed to melt within minutes of contact.

At this point we were worried about the baby. Thankfully one of the nurses who I will never forget, brought a calmness over the insanity and reassured both Judy and myself that baby is ok. Her heartbeat was strong and we had nothing to worry about.

Next the doc came in and told us we would be going into delivery as it is the only way to alleviate the preeclampsia. They said they did not consider this an emergency as they were able to get Judys pressure under control but we would be delivering sometime between 11pm and midnight.

Delivery time comes and Judy is brought into the operating room while I put on the hospital gear. Once surgery started, they escorted me in and had me sit next to Judy on the other side of the partition that blocked view of the operation.

As Judy laid there and I sat next to her, I kept asking her if she was ok. I think both of us had fear. I was doing my best to look at the light above to see if I can see anything in the reflection which I could not so it was simply a waiting game.

All of the sudden we heard, wow, this is a big baby for 36 weeks. Personally I didn’t know what to think of that and wasn’t going to calm down until I knew all was well.

All of the sudden, a cry. It wasn’t Judy, it wasn’t me and it certainly wasn’t the doctors. It was our baby girl. She was born on July 24th at 12:21am and I will never forget the moment I heard her and both me and Judy broke down in tears of happiness.

Hailey came into our life about a week and a half sooner than expected and we couldn’t be happier.

Today she is one week old and god how we love her sooo much. You truly don’t understand what people say when they talk about the birth of their child. It is a moment of amazement, and your heart instantly grow much bigger and is filled with love and joy.

I think the best feeling was a minute or so after she came out and they put her in my arms for the first time. I simply didn’t want to let her go.

I can write a book in regards to this day at this point if I included every emotion that hit us that day but maybe I’ll save that for another post.

It’s been a week since Hailey was born, first doctors appointment said she was in excellent health and very alert which is what we wanted to hear. Her appetite grows everyday. She went from 10 to 15ml of formula on her first day to around 60ml today.

Overall, she has been a very calm baby with only one notable crying fit the first night she was home. Overall, she eats well, sleeps well and we couldn’t ask for anything more.

This is something I always dreamed of. Key was finding Judy who is unlike no other. I love her more than words can describe and couldn’t ask for a better woman to have a child with. She is already a great mom and I will forever be grateful for her.

She was the one who had to take the meds/shots during IVF. She is the one who had to watch what she ate for eight and a half months. She is the one who carried our beautiful Hailey all this time and created perfection.

Our dream has been realized and our hearts and minds are filled with love and a new sense of being and purpose in life.

We couldn’t be happier with our girl. For anyone who has been following our journey for the past year and sending positivity our way, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our IVF journey may have come to an end but our journey as parents has now started. Keep an eye out for more posts about our experience as parents and thanks again for reading.

Now We Wait

Week 35 came and went and during that time I managed to finish up the nursery. Painting is done, ceiling fan is up, and crib and changing table are assembled. All that’s left is to put up the new curtains and maybe touch up a few spots that got dinged up on the wall.

So now we are in week 36 and seeing the nursery ready to welcome our girl has made our excitement build even more. This has become even more real than it already has been even though at times it seemed surreal.

Looking back, the hands on the clock have gone from a crawl to a sprint. This journey seems like it has been going on for a long time but with the finish line upon us, time is now in a sprint. This sprint simply isn’t fast enough because we want to hold our girl now but like they say, good thing come to those who wait.

Judy went in for her maternal scan last week and they estimated our baby was weighing in at 6 pounds 9 ounces. Not sure how she fits in there but she does.

The other night I was rubbing Judys belly as we were going to sleep. As I was doing so, I felt a little bump raise up which I swear was our girls hand reaching out to say hi. It was the best feeling as if she was reaching out to hold daddy’s hand. Of course when I told Judy to feel the spot, baby moved away which she often does to both of us. She will start kicking away and Judy will tell me to come feel and the second I get there she stops. It’s like a little game she plays with us.

These are the things we are cherishing in the moment during pregnancy. Funny to think about a few months ago when Judy would say she felt the baby move and tell me to feel but I wouldn’t feel anything in the beginning. Now our baby is big and strong and it is not hard to feel her when she is moving.

So all that is left to do is get that car seat bases installed and pack the go bag in the car. We are at a point where the biggest thing to do besides that is wait and waiting somewhat patiently is what we are doing.

Getting it all Together

We are weeks away from baby girls arrival and trying to tie up all loose ends to prepare for her arrival.

Nursery has been painted, new ceiling fan installed and now we need to install new molding and assemble the crib.

In regards to the crib, we ordered a Newton mattress for the crib as it is highly rated and is made of a breathable material that would allow a baby to breath if they happen to flip over. Of course we will be on a high alert and watch her to ensure this doesn’t happen but having the mattress gives us a little comfort knowing it is breathable.

Next on the list is installing the car seat based in the cars and ensure they are installed properly. We have been asking around to see where everyone installs their car seats. Some say in the middle because it’s safest and most say behind the passenger seat as it easier to place and get the car seat out of the car. I think we have to consider safest option as opposed to convenience

We have our go bag ready to go here for the most part. Just need to get a few things in there but if we had to run, I think we can get by with what we have here. Clothes for Dylan as hospital protocol says when we go in, he can not leave to avoid increased risk of coming into contact with coronavirus.

Speaking of which, we will have to be tested prior to our scheduled date to ensure neither of us are positive. Definitely scary times but we have both been taking precautions and hopefully we will both test negative.

We are currently on our last day of week 33 with week 34 starting tomorrow. Had a doctors appointment today and they said they can see contractions and cramping in the ultrasound. Caused us some concern but spoke with the nurse who works with our doctor afterwards. She consulted with our doc who said everything looked good but we will have to monitor to cramping and if it gets stronger we may have to head right to the hospital. Cramping seems to have calmed down for now but we are now monitoring.

It’s really amazing how it feels like this has been a road we have been traveling for a long time with our first consultation with our IVF doc taking place in the first half of last year. Seems like so much time has passed us by which at times seemed to drag. With only a few weeks left, time is flying.

Another week down since our last post and one week closer to holding our little girl here. We just can’t wait.

Dad’s Random Thoughts

Excited is an understatement. Daddy’s little girl will be here in a few short weeks.

Did I have a preference of a boy or girl? Absolutely not. What if I absolutely had to choose? Well then, I would have chosen a girl.

Why would I have chosen a girl over a boy? There are stereotypical things a father does with their son to teach them how to be a man. A father teaches a boy how to play sports, use tools and do what is considered male things. I feel like I would be able to teach that easily.

So with my being confident that I could teach that all easily, why not teach all of that to a girl? I grew up with a single mother who truly believed she could do anything herself and did not need a man to do anything for her. And she really was able to do anything and everything herself. She was a strong woman.

This is what I want to raise my daughter to be. I wasn’t her to grow up to be a strong woman who has no fear and can succeed at whatever she chooses to do in life.

If my little girl wants to be a a dancer well then daddy is going to provide the tools for her to be a dancer. If she wants to play baseball, then daddy will show her how. If she wants to learn technology like daddy works on, well then daddy will show her. If she wants to learn to cook, well then we will leave that one to mommy to show her because daddy’s cooking is awful.

Not only do I hope to instill confidence within her, I hope to teach her how to respect herself and when the time comes for boys to be part of her life, she only associates with ones that are respectful as I believe I have always been to Judy.

I am not sure what to expect, but I am expecting a challenge. I know there is always a strong bond between daddy and daughter because daddy is always there to protect. I believe that the mommy daughter bond will be just as strong though because mommy is as tough as they come and will be a solid protector.

Overall, both myself and Judy were raised with family values and a sense of respect for others. I believe the two of us will no doubt help build a strong foundation. As parents, we know we each come to the game with our strong points and weak points. Strong points are not an issue but if our little girl sees us work as a team to help each other turn those weaknesses into strength, then she herself will have less fear of failing and a stronger desire to succeed.

This entry is no doubt just me rambling and spitting out random thoughts. May or may not make sense to some which is fine either way. Just wanted to be able to record what I am currently thinking whether it makes sense or now.

The one thing I know I can add to this that isn’t random crazy thinking is the following.

Judy, thank you for being you. Thank you for always standing tall by my side (Even if you are shorter than me). Thank you for keeping me sane at times when I felt like the world was collapsing around me. Thank you for always making me smile and laugh. Nothing beats the random laughter we share whether we are making a joke at the expense of each other or just same something off the cuff ridiculous. I love laughing with you.

Most of all, thank you for being the vessel that has carried our little girl over the past almost 8 months. I know it hasn’t been easy and I wish I could say I understand what being pregnant is like. I do not know what that is like but I do thank you for teaching me. Together we are going to be amazing parents.

To our little girl if you ever read this in a few years. We may or may not have decided on your name yet but either way, only me and mom will know what it is before you are born. We are both ecstatic knowing that in just a few more weeks, you will be with us on the outside where we will be able to hold you, look at you, play with you, teach you and most of all love you with all our heart and soul. I promise to do my best to be the best daddy a girl could ask for. I may not always be perfect but I do promise to always be good.

I love you my sweet precious daughter and can not wait to hold you, see you and love you forever.

31 Weeks Strong

Here we are in the middle of week 31 or pregnancy. For the most part all is going well. Baby girls kicks and punches get stronger daily. Fatigue felt in the first trimester has returned which is a bummer but we only have a few more weeks to go so a few extra naps is a good thing.

Having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes has not been easy. It has been a task to figure out what I can and can not eat even though I was provided with a guide from my dietician which mentions to avoid starchy vegetables and more importantly, don’t overdue the carb intake which is a big culprit in what triggers the sugar spikes.

Since being diagnosed, I have had mostly good days where my sugar levels stay in range. It is frustrating on the days when my levels are higher than recommended but for the most part, levels have been good way more times than bad.

In regards to our last appointment, baby girl is measuring on track and she is looking so good. We received a 3d sonogram image and she looks beautiful. Doc said it looks like she has a full head of hair and Dylan is jealous. He hasn’t had a full head of hair in 13 years.

Doc did give us the date we will be going in for our C-section in August. As of right now we are keeping the date secret simply to keep a little element of surprise to our friends and some family. All I can say is we are extremely excited and can not wait.

From this point forward, we will be going in for appointments almost weekly. Also time for both of us to speak to our HR reps at our jobs to discuss the time we will be taking off to be with our girl after she is born. It’s been a long road but one well traveled as we are seeing the finish line ahead which also is a starting point. From that day forward we will go from being a family of two to a family of three with all new moments to cherish and remember in the future.

Change the Future One Child at a Time

Today marks week 30 and all is well. Judy is following her plan provided by her dietician to keep her sugar levels controlled. For the most part it is working well. Some days her levels are slightly above what is recommended by a few points but for the most part they have been in range.

With all the turmoil going on in the world right now we realize that the world we remember before the pandemic started has changed significantly in a few short months. The world we remembered may not be the world our baby girl will grow up in.

Will she grow up having to wear a mask to play with her friends? We don’t know and have to see what the future holds.

On top of that, racial equality has become front and center on the world stage. While the reasoning it has come to light is sad, we must use this as an opportunity to teach love and respect.

Now is the perfect time for parents both new and old to teach love and respect to all humans regardless of race, nationality and religion.

We are lucky because in two short months our baby girl will join us in this world. She will come into this world not knowing what hate is. From day one she will learn everything from us for the first few years.

It is our job as parents to teach her and build a strong foundation of love and respect so when she starts to venture into the world, these qualities are not altered by any negative outside influences she may encounter.

We can and will teach her that we are all individuals and as an individual we all have great qualities but none of us are exempt from having faults.

These values will not only come through question and answer sessions as she grows up, they will also come from the way she sees us interact with each other as well as the rest of the world as a whole.

Will she learn to hate under our guidance and will we allow it? Only if she says she hates her veggies or my cooking. But in time we will get her to love those also. Maybe not my cooking so much but hopefully veggies.

When I first met Judy, she hated mushrooms. After pushing and pushing a little more to try them again, guess who now loves mushrooms.

In general we can all learn to love even if our foundation was built on hate. We just need to allow ourselves to be open and understanding towards one another.

We as new parents as well as the thousands of new parents all have an opportunity to build a strong foundation of love and positivity. We must all take advantage of this now to ensure a better future for all.

Approaching the Finish Line – Moms Perspective

Never did we think it would be this way. The pain and confusion of our miscarriages, then struggling with fertility only for it to be considered unknown.

It was a very stressful time between us, which opened our eyes on how we communicate with each other and how we approach problems to solve together. This was a blessing in disguise. If we can get through this we can do anything.

After trying and failing on our own, I was on board but concerned about going through IVF – essentially becoming a test tube, chemically altering my body with unknown long term side effects, and crossing our fingers at each step, each shot, each blood draw that it would result in a baby.

I was conflicted that it was me that was the issue. A very common thought after loss of a baby. Going through testing only for us to have clean bills of health as far as fertility, did not make it easier. The perspective from the doctor was “well you did get pregnant before” so it wasn’t an issue w Dylan.

I had developed a thyroid issue so then it’s assumed it’s me. Sad to say but that is a lot of times a hard truthful perspective unless somethings glaringly wrong w the guy. It did bother me a lot, feeling like it was all on me. I felt lost and damaged.

So I leaned a lot on women on Instagram. I felt like I needed a female perspective to relate to. I began to search anything I could on IVF, fertility, medications, diet, and acupuncture. I’m a visual learner so it was great for me to see their videos and posts. I chose to follow those who explained their stories bluntly without filter. If we were gonna do this we need to know the good bad and ugly.

Through the entire process, then after we had our transfer up until the middle of the second trimester I was walking on eggshells mentally. Everyday was a check to make sure everything was ok. The thing about miscarriage and IVF is it robs us of the unfiltered joy in that time. The first pregnancy we were looking at cribs and strollers and names right after our pregnancy test, seeing the doc. So excited.

Then after that loss it just felt wrong to be in that state again. Guilty for the first baby we lost and for the following that gets a guarded celebration.

Now looking back on it I am happy we did it. I’m excited to meet our daughter and experience being a parent. Yes, I am biased since it did work our first round, and we are weeks away from meeting our baby. Not everyone has the same result and I can only hope our story can educate and enlighten anyone going through whatever stages of fertility. Even if it has a different result.

It’s all about the shared human experience. Thanks for letting us share our story. Feel free to share yours if you’d like.

Approaching the Finish Line – Dads Persepctive

In what seems to have been a long journey, it struck us both how close we are to the finish line.

In 2018 we had our first pregnancy which ended in miscarriage. Early 2019 we experienced the same. Both were due to genetic defects and both sucked.

Our doc recommended we go for genetic counseling which we did. No issues were found with our genes and the fertility doc we met with suggested we give IVF a shot.

His opinion for this would be to ensure that we have a quality embryo with little to no defect. They found no other reason why we couldn’t get pregnant and keep it otherwise except for maybe age but that was not said.

Now we knew that IVF doesn’t always happen on the first attempt but as many couples who have taken this route or will be taking this route, there is hope that it happens on the first try. We had to keep that in our mind and truly understand this to avoid or at least minimize any emotional hurt that may be caused by a failed attempt.

As I write, Judy is coming up on week 29 of pregnancy and we were blessed to get to this point on our first attempt. I know we are lucky when I read the stories of others who have gone through multiple cycles.

We are blessed to feel the baby kicking at this point as well as hear her heartbeat with a Doppler we purchased online even though are doc did not recommend we get one because they are not medical grade and can cause fear if the baby is turned in such a way where the doppler does not pick up the beat.

As we approach week 29, it hit us that we are about 11 weeks away from meeting our baby girl. Actually less than 11 weeks as we will be having a c-section.

So the rush is on to prepare for all things baby. The nursery has been painted for the most part. Now I just need to clean it up and organize it. We have enough clothes between items we purchased as well as hand me downs from friends and family that we should make it through the first year with no issues.

At this point we need to narrow down our list of names which seems to grow as opposed to getting narrowed down.

Our excitement grows every single day and the hands of time which seemed to be stalled for the longest time are now flying. Before we know it our baby girl will be in our arms and our family will become a +1.

I must mention how wonderful Judy has carried herself through this pregnancy. With each passing day you can see the excitement she feels as well as the joy she has being pregnant knowing she is carrying our child.

I am always using the term we are pregnant because I look at us as a team. Two to tango right? I completely understand she is pregnant and she was the one who went through morning sickness and know my part is the easy part.

I have tried to step up my game by preparing dinner more even if my dishes are sometimes just edible and nothing great. Point being I do try to do more so she can relax. That is what great teams do. They look out for and to each other for support which is what we have been doing. So this is what I mean when I say we are pregnant and in no way want to take away from Judy.

We are experiencing this together with each of our experiences being different. She feels the kicks and movements from the inside while I can feel them by placing my hand on her belly. What a beautiful feeling that is.

These are amazing and exciting times and we are enjoying each and every day. We know that not every experience is the same but we do hope that there are a few people out there who can relate to our experience or maybe we can help. We found reading the experience of others both good and bad helped us so we just wanted to pay it forward by sharing our uncensored experience.

Thanks for reading and will see you on our next post.