Monday, September 8, 2014

firmoo eyeglasses review // 02

A little over a year ago I teamed up with Firmoo, an online prescription eyeglass store and now I'm lucky enough to do another review! (Original review here) Buying glasses alone is a struggle, I mean they practically have every shape, size and color these days. Not to mention glasses are way too expensive. And let's be honest each pair of glasses is made for a specific kind of face shape and sometimes it's a challenge to find that perfect pair.

But Firmoo makes the process as easy as possible. They let you pick what color and style you'd like. You can even upload a picture of yourself then put the pair of glasses you're considering on your face and see how they look. It's honestly so much easier than going into a store and having to try on 20 pairs before you find the right now. And one of the greatest perks are their low prices, I've never seen such a good deal on glasses. 

Not only do they send the glasses right away, but you receive a cute case to hold them in and a cloth to clean the glasses with. I loved Firmoo a year ago, and I still love them. Firmoo has made getting a pair of spectacles as easy as it should be and I highly recommend them.

(I received a complementary product to facilitate this post, I was not compensated.  All opinions are my own.)


Monday, September 1, 2014

life lately

I think it's time for another:" the good, the bad, and the funnies" post

The Good:

-All of Madelyn's little squeks and coos, SO adorable. I can't believe how quickly she's learning and growing.
-By the way, thank you everyone for all of the tips on curing colic. I don't know if Madelyn is just growing out of it, or if everyone's tips are really working but she has been SO much better! Going from 7 hours of crying to 1 is huge and I'm really hoping she stays this easy-going.
- Josh started dental school, which could be good or bad hah. He's so excited though and I love making him 5 course lunches every day.
- Madelyn had her baby blessing yesterday and was blessed in the same dress I wore when I was blessed, so tender!

The Bad:

-Madelyn's 2 biggest diaper blow outs happend to be in public while nursing. I'm starting to think I need to bring a change of clothes for both of us. This last one was at a doctor's office and I had to  walk out to my car with a giant circle of poop on my skirt.
-Now that Josh is 26 he got kicked off his parents insurance, boo for growing up.
-Baby girl is now in 3 month clothing, which I'm SO sad about. Can't believe how fast she's growing up.
- Flew with Madelyn a couple weeks ago and on the way home she cried the ENTIRE time, I felt so bad because I know she felt miserable but wow, that really shattered my nerves.
- This morning Josh and I woke up to baby poop on our bed and then shortly after our cat pooped on our bed too. It was one of those moments when I asked "Why me?".

The Funnies:

- Our cat Wendy is still suuuper scared of Madelyn. Whenever the baby cries she high tails it out of the room. You'd think after 3 months she'd get used to it, nope.
- The other night I was sitting in bed with Madelyn when I noticed a huge spider crawling down the wall. I called my cat and he then proceeded to eat it in one bite. In case you were wondering, that's why you get animals. The circle of life is a beautiful thing.

- I've been working on this post for a solid three weeks but as soon as I start typing Madelyn wakes up so I keep having to redo it with more recent updates.

Stay tuned for a Firmoo Eyeglasses review coming soon!

Monday, July 21, 2014

purple crying

So there's this thing called "purple crying" that some babies go through. A phase where they cry at a certain time every single day, and my dear Madelyn has a strong case of it. Let's just say when night time comes around she hates the world and everything/everyone in it.

When Madelyn was first born she was an angel baby. So easy-going, never cried, easy to soothe. Then around week 3 she turned into a baby I didn't even recognize, and it's been really, really hard.

Now she cries a lot, for hours and hours at a time. And Josh works, a lot. Most days he works a 13 hours shift where he leaves before Madelyn and I have woken up and comes home when she's finally asleep and I'm heading to bed. We're like two passing ships in the night. Only my ship has a screaming, inconsolable child.

For Madelyn, it's totally normal to cry for 3+ hours at a time. Some days when we're home alone she'll cry for 6, even 7 hours without taking a break and I feel so incredibly alone and isolated and depressed. I can't even take her out in public without a freak out, and oh I hate those stares of "Geeze, can't you get your child to stop crying," and the "How dare you take a fussy baby in public where she can annoy everyone" looks. Yep. We get many of those. Unfortunately we live in an area with lots of young people who don't have children and don't understand that sometimes there's nothing you can do to get your baby to stop crying except wait it out.

The other day I went shopping for new jeans because my hips are too wide for my pre-pregnancy jeans, and my maternity pants are too big. But Madelyn woke up while we were in the dressing room and went from 0-60, crying hysterically. And boy, those big dressing rooms have some great acoustics. I got dressed as quickly as I could and with the baby in one arm and pushing the stroller with the other I heard many grunts of disapproval, a couple "Oh my gosh, SO annoying!" and many, many stares of agitation and annoyance.

The thing people don't get is that I don't understand why she's so upset or how to comfort her. They may think that makes me an unfit mother but I'm trying as hard as I can and giving myself completely to her.

Being a mom is hard. I've never been so tired and emotionally exhausted in my life. But I'm learning to ask for help and I'm surrounded by such amazing people that truly care for my little family, and that has been making this journey a little easier.

So in case you were wondering where I've been and if I'm all right, that's my answer. I've been dealing with a colicky baby who may cry more than any other child I've ever known, and I'm learning to adjust because she is worth the restless days and nights and I love her so much.

And even if she does cry a lot she's still the most beautiful baby I've ever seen (although I am biased since I'm her mother) and I love her so much. I mean, those big almond eyes just kill me. Whenever I'm ready to pull my hair out I just take one hard look at her and remind myself how lucky I am to have this babe and I feel so much better. After all, this is only a phase and eventually my sweet, easy-going girl will come back, I just know it. 

But seriously, those eyes...


Thursday, June 12, 2014

my first week as a mother

Madelyn was born 8 days ago so we've officially been parents for a whole week! I can't believe how fast that went. I know she's still so little but I want her to stay this way forever and never ever grow up. She's still 4% down from her birth weight but now that she has the hang of breastfeeding she'll be putting on the big pounds in no time.

The hardest part this week: 

Figuring out breastfeeding. Madelyn was tongue tied when she was born, the flap of skin went all the way to the tip of her tongue so her whole time in utero she didn't have any function or mobility of her tongue. And as soon as she had her latch figured out (ouch) a pediatrician came into the hospital right before we checked out and snipped the tongue tie. Madelyn had to relearn allll over again and this time I didn't have the help of nurses. 

My first night home from the hospital was so difficult because she didn't latch once and I knew she was hungry. All night I kept trying and trying to feed her, I didn't sleep at all. Eventually it got to the point where every time someone would hand her to me she'd start screaming because it was so frustrating for her, and that was devestating. I really thought she hated me.

Nothing quite like having your baby see you as the bad guy. Everyone kept telling me different things, like hold her face there until she latches but I hated that. She'd scream and I knew that wouldn't "teach" her to latch it was only giving her a negative view of breastfeeding.

But then I found the power of skin to skin and that changed everything. I started stripping her down to her diaper and laying her on my bare chest and then when she started showing signs that she wanted to eat I'd put her down and it really worked! It helped calm her down and turned breastfeeding into a positive and relaxing experience. Now she wants to nurse not only when she's hungry but when she's tired and just wants to fall asleep. 

Best Part(s) of this Week:

I really can't name one thing, so here's a list - 
+ Meeting my baby girl for the first time and holding her.
+ Seeing Josh become a dad, there's just something about your husband becoming the father of your child that is so special and life changing. The first time he held Madelyn I just looked at him and my heart was exploding with love, I didn't even know it was possible to love someone that much.
+ Finally getting breastfeeding down, Madelyn is quite the trooper.
+ The time Madelyn slept for 8 hours straight at night, we didn't even realize until we woke up the next morning fully rested. (We now have to set an alarm at night so we can wake her up and feed her. Turns out babies aren't supposed to sleep that long until they've gained the weight back that they lost after being born. Madelyn just loves her sleep!)
+ Whenever Madelyn starts crying and the moment I pick her up and she sees me and stops, it's like she knows me and she can feel my love for her.

Madelyn loves:

+ To nurse.
+ Sleep, that girl came out of the womb a great sleeper.
+ When daddy bounces her.
+ Skin to skin time with mama.
+ Being swaddled as tight as a little burrito.
+ Getting a sponge bath.
+Being rocked to sleep.
+ Riding in the car.
+ Cuddles and kisses.

Madelyn isn't a huge fan of:

+ Having gas.
+ Going to the doctor and having her heart listened to.
+ Putting clothes on, or having them taken off.
+ Getting her diaper changed.

Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing emotionally, how I'm handling being a new mother. I used to think I'd really struggle, change is hard for me, especially when I don't feel ready (and I definitely wasn't ready when we found out we were pregnant). But honestly, who is ready? Everyone will have those days after getting pregnant when you think, "Oh crap, I can't do this! I can't birth a baby! I can't keep a child alive!" The thought of the responsibility was much more terrifying to think about than it is in real life.

When it's your own baby things just fall into place. You are ready because you have to be and want to be. And even though Madelyn came a few years earlier than we were planning, she's so perfect and our lives feel whole and complete, and I wouldn't change anything. She has brought me so much joy in this one week, much more than I ever could have imagined. I really think being a mother is my calling in life, it's what I'm good at. And I really believe that for me there's nothing more sacred and fulfilling than being Madelyn's mother and Josh's wife. It's who I was meant to be and who I want to be.

It's like my whole life I was missing someone and now that's she's here I know that was her.  I've known her since before I was born and I've waited my whole life to be her mother and to bring her into this world and now that I have I feel complete again, and my life has so much more meaning. She's the presence my soul longed to see again and greatly missed. I know she won't be our only baby and when the time comes for us to bring another child into the world I'll have this feeling of completeness all over again.

But for now, all is well and perfect.

Even through the sleep deprivation I am happy, so very happy. And I am so glad that this little girl is a part of our family. Like I said, I've waited so long to see her again and now that she's here I can't imagine a day without her.

First week was a success, now here's to many, many more. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


ps If you want to see more updates on Madelyn and my new life then follow me on twitter @lovelaurenblog or instagram @fashionlovelauren

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Madelyn Elizabeth Rogers: A Birth Story

Monday night, June 2, I started having some contractions that didn't feel like braxton hicks. They kept me up all night but weren't consistent enough to go in. By the time the morning rolled in I was so exhausted. Josh left for work and I went shopping with my friend Mercedes, hoping that I could walk this baby out of me.

I made some super spicy enchiladas for dinner and kept thinking "this will either put me into labor or I'll have the worst heartburn tonight that'll keep me up again." After dinner Josh and I went for a long walk up and down those famous steep hills in Seattle. I told Josh I wanted to speed walk, so we were cruising and I'm sure I looked really funny waddling after my husband who was bounding up those hills.

We got home around 8:30 PM and I sat on our couch and got on the computer. Then at 9:00 PM I felt a gush of water leak out. I went to the bathroom and told Josh that I thought my water broke but wasn't sure. At my last appointment with the midwife she said if I ever thought my water broke to put a pad in my underwear and if it was soaked in fluid within an hour then it did indeed break. So I stuck a pad in there and not even 10 minutes later it was full.

But there was something definitely not right about the fluid because it was green (sorry if that grosses you out but this is after all a birth story). I thought that was so weird and knew if it was supposed to be that color someone would have said something. I took a picture of it and sent it to my mom and she said that my water did break and I needed to call the hospital. So I called them and said how my water broke and it was green and the nurse got real serious and said I needed to come in immediately because the baby had pooped meconium which can cause the baby to go into distress.

Keep in mind it was still 12 days before my due date and I was NOT prepared at all. The nursery wasn't done, our hospital bag wasn't packed, we hadn't washed any of her baby clothes (except her coming home outfit-thank goodness for that!). After I hung up with the nurse Josh and I started running around the apartment and throwing things into a duffle bag. 

While we were packing I started getting some contractions, at first I barely noticed them but then they started getting longer and more intense. About 15 minutes later Josh and I were on the road heading to the hospital which is about 30 minutes away from our apartment.

When we arrived they put us in a little curtained room to monitor the contractions and see if I was being admitted or not. When the nurse arrived I told her my water broke, she asked if I was a first time mom and I said yes. Then she gave me this "Oh brother, you don't know what you're talking about then" look and asked how much fluid came out. At this point I dropped my pants  and showed her my pad which was again saturated in green fluid. The nurse then said I was not leaving this hospital until I had my baby and checked me in. That's when another nurse came and took me to the labor and delivery room. By this time my contractions were 90 seconds long and 3 1/2 - 4 minutes apart. I could still talk through them so they really weren't that intense.

I got hooked up to an IV since I was GBS positive and needed antibiotics. Let me tell you, ouch. Those labor and delivery IVs aren't just a needle, they're literally a catheter stuck into your arm and I was not a fan.

After we settled in the nurse gave us the go ahead to walk around the hospital to try and get labor to progress. She also gave me permission to eat :) and said I could continue to do so until I'm in "active labor." (Notice how happy I am in the above pictures, this was when I scored my pain about a 2-2.5 out of 10, definitely not in active labor yet.)

Josh and I started to do some laps around the hospital floor and we even stopped by a vending machine to get some snacks. And boy, once I was walking and moving the contractions started getting a lot worse. About every minute I had to stop and close my eyes until the contraction passed. I practiced my hypno-breahting techniques which were actually pretty helpful and Josh was SO great at comforting me. He kept saying "You just have one more night to get through until Madelyn is here," "You're one contraction closer to bringing our baby into the world," it was all exactly what I needed to hear. 

We continued to walk for about 30 minutes and by then I wanted to get checked because the contractions were starting to come on top of each other and I believed I was officially in active labor. When I got back they checked my progress and I was 4 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, with contractions every 1 1/2 minutes and lasting 90 seconds. Yep, definitely active labor.

That's when the real fun began. 

I hopped on my birthing ball and tried bouncing through contractions but it only made them come closer and they were starting to get really uncomfortable.  Josh would rub my back and he let me squeeze his hand, I was so proud at how comforting he was.  I tried picturing each contraction as a wave in the ocean that would rise and then wash over me. I wished I would have practiced the visualization techniques a little more before going into labor because I didn't feel ready and was having a hard time focusing.

By 5 AM they checked me again and I was 6 centimeters dilated and 95% effaced. They told me once I was completely effaced the contractions would get much more intense and it wouldn't be long now. I heard "much more intense" and wanted to cry. I was already so exhausted from not sleeping for now 2 nights straight and it took about one more contraction for me to beg Josh to get the nurse because I wanted that epidural. 

Poor Josh didn't know what to do, I trained him for 9 months to tell me that I didn't need an epidural when I asked for one. I saw some hesitation and as I felt another contraction coming on I very sternly said, "Get me the drugs NOW!" Looking back that moment reminds me of the scene in What to Expect When You're Expecting when the woman in labor asks her husband for an epidural and he tells her she doesn't really want one and she says, "Get me the juice! And don't come back without it!" Yes, that moment was pretty similar to that one. So Josh ran over to the phone, paged the nurse, and explained that I wanted the epidural as soon as possible.

A few contractions later the anesthesiologist  came in and he was quite grumpy. And man  that epidural hurt! Seriously though, I thought the IV was uncomfortable - not even a close comparison. Of course he stuck me once and realized he wasn't in a very good spot so he stuck me again. And every time I said "Ow!" he replied that it wasn't that bad and to just breath. I wanted to tell him it obviously hurts when I'm focusing on that pain more than the contractions! But about 5 minutes later the epidural catheter was put in and within minutes I was completely numb from the waist down.

They warned me that epidurals don't get rid of the pain, only make it more bearable but that doctor really knew what he was doing (so maybe his grumpiness wasn't that big of a deal). I didn't feel one single thing until it was time to push. I kept having to look at the monitor to make sure I was still having contractions. 

Now that I was drugged up Josh and I were able to rest a little, him more than me. I was so anxious and excited to meet Madelyn that I couldn't sleep. Josh on the other hand, well, just take a look for yourself . . .

Josh enjoyed my epidural as much as I did.
Around 7:30-7:45 AM they came in to check my progress and I was at an 8 and almost completely effaced. They assumed it would be another couple hours or so and I waited. Shortly after that I suddenly felt like I needed to push. I thought it was just my body's way of continuing to open and her dropping lower, definitely didn't think it was actually time considering I was an 8 not too long ago.

The next time the nurse came in around 8:30 I told her I felt like I needed to push, I opened my legs and she got really excited and said the baby's head was right there and she had made her way all the way down the birth canal on her own.

Within minutes she was paging the midwife and NICU (they had to be there since there was meconium in the amniotic fluid).  By 8:50 AM I was pushing, and man that was tiring. I asked for a mirror to watch and at first it was so discouraging because after every push she would just go right back to where she was. They kept telling me I was making lots of progress and I wouldn't be pushing much longer and they were right. 

Her head finally started coming out and I was so excited that I got this gust of energy and I just started to push and push even after the contraction stopped and then she came flying out which is probably why I tore in three places. (I only pushed for 45 minutes which is pretty good for a first time mom.) I started crying and I don't remember this part but Josh said I started saying over and over "My baby, my baby! Give me my baby!" and that's when he started to cry.

They kept telling me through my labor that if she didn't come out screaming then they'd have to take her away for a while because it meant she inhaled some meconium and would need immediate attention. But that moment when she came into the world she was screaming her head off. 

Josh clamped the cord and the midwife placed her on me. It was one of the most emotional and beautiful experiences of my life. The moment I became a mother. There really is nothing like seeing your baby for the first time after they've been growing inside of you for 9 months. It's like you know them because they've been a part of you, but you haven't actually met them yet. It is so tender and powerful. 

The hospital was really great and they let me hold her skin to skin for a whole hour before they took her measurements and weight. As you all probably know in my previous post she was 8 lbs 2 oz, quite bigger than anyone was predicting. 

Overall my labor and delivery was an amazing experience. Throughout my whole pregnancy I kept praying and telling God that if I had an awful birth after the extremely difficult pregnancy I had then I would definitely not be having another child. Looks like he was listening because it really couldn't have been any better. Even the recovery has been much easier than I thought it would be.

Now here are some pictures Josh took in the hospital, I wish we would have gotten a photographer so he could have been in them, but either way I'm just glad we have some to remember that absolutely beautiful and perfect day. 

She looks so much like Josh as a baby in this picture.

It's weird how I've spent my whole life being afraid of becoming a mother. Afraid of how different my body would be, that I wouldn't have any freedom, and that my life would never be the same. But from the moment Madelyn came into the world I just know that this is what I was born to do, to be a mother. It's amazing how natural and instinctive it all feels. My fears of inadequacy are gone and now all I want to do is take care of her, hold her, and kiss those soft cheeks. And I'm sure it helps that she truly is such a great baby, so calm and easy going - we really lucked out. 

I feel so bad for being so scared and not trusting in God enough, because he obviously knows what he is doing and I'm so grateful that he is allowing me to raise such an extraordinary girl. 

Madelyn Elizabeth, my tiny miracle baby.