Elle’s Birth Story

[NOTE: I omitted a lot of the squeamish parts of labor and delivery but if you have any particular questions, I am so okay with answering them in the comments. Like, did I really encapsulate my placenta? Sure did!]

DSC_5606

I feared a lot throughout my pregnancy. It was ridiculous, really. I am naturally a very anxious person and pregnancy only heightened that for me. My decision to go with a midwife instead of an OB/GYN didn’t help the situation either. The midwifery philosophy means trusting the woman’s body to do what it needs to do to nurture baby in-utero without much intervention. While some women may get ultrasounds at every prenatal appointment, I had one at 20 weeks. I was in the dark throughout most of my pregnancy. Instead of trusting my body, I questioned if everything was okay. If she didn’t move, I’d freak out. If she moved too much, I’d freak out. I was in panic mode 24/7. The crazy thing is, the only time I really trusted my body was when I was going through labor.

DSC_5517

My water broke when I was polishing my nails. But of course, right? I flew out of the beauty room to Esposo. My pants were to my ankles and I was running back and forth like some maniac. We decided to call the midwife and they recommended that I come in ASAP so they could test me to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. I just knew I was wasting my time. Because obviouslyyyyy, my water didn’t break. I just peed on myself. That’s it.

But we hopped in the car and drove the midwife and within 20 minutes I had my legs spread all open for the world to see.

“You’re having a baby today.” said the midwife.

I tossed myself in Denial River again.

“Wait, wha?…no. No. Like..not today. How do you know? Is this real life?”

We were told to go back home so that I could labor there and to come back in 4 hours. I tested positive for Group B Strep and had to have an antibiotic. Which also ruled me out of that glorified water birth that I wanted. Womp. We got home and I threw myself in the nook of the sofa and then labored on my labor ball. Esposo kept glancing at me and was steadily asking me if I needed anything. He was so calm. So so calm. I was fine. I couldn’t understand why people said labor was sooo hard. If these were contractions (mind you, that hadn’t started yet), I was doing amaziiiing.

DSC_5507

10 minutes later I was on the floor on all fours moaning and groaning. I’d go from the floor to rolling on my yoga ball. The contractions were in, ladies and gentlemen. And those mofos hurt. The only respite I got was the few minutes between contractions. Those minutes were glorious. I timed my contractions. 3-4 minutes apart. I got so uncomfortable that I crawled up to the bed. The contractions got worse. And worse. And worse. I hummed throughout them. I focused on my breathing. I got that from reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. That book spoke to my hippie soul. It is chock full of birth stories where the women were having babies in cabins and in the woods and all of that craziness. That’s so me. I’d have a baby in a cabin. Yep.

Esposo began packing up the car. He told me I should try to eat something before we left. Good idea. Each step I took killed me. I winced in pain. I continued to hum. Being upright was the worst. I somehow made it to the car and we took the 15 minute trek to the birthing center. Each bump made me want to hurl. I kept timing my contractions. 2 minutes apart and there weren’t many breaks in between.

We made it to the birthing center and they got us settled in the room. The midwife checked me and I was already 5 centimeters dilated. This baby was coming. And I was dying. My Mom was nowhere to be found because earlier that day she told me that she had gotten dreadfully ill and that I simply couldn’t have the baby today. How could my Mom not be there through this? My doula was on her way but I just knew she wouldn’t make it either.

In my head I was cursing up a storm. Out of my mouth, all I could do was hum and say, “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouuuuuuch.” Over and over again. The sweet nurse brought me ice cold water.

“I’m going to throw up.” I told her.

She brought me a pan and I threw up. I knew I was probably going through transition and that shortly after barfing, the pain would only intensify. I tried to stay calm. I asked Esposo to rub my back.

“Get off of me.” I tell him seconds later.

I was loosing it. The pain was out of control. Now that I look back at it, the contractions were painful but manageable. I suffered from painful menstrual cramps my entire life and so my pain tolerance is pretty up there. The real pain came from the perineal massage that my midwife gave me during those contractions. I wanted to kick her in her chin each time she told me to relax as she tried to massage the nether regions. I knew that she was only doing this to help prevent me from tearing but I was an animal at that point. I just wanted that baby out and I didn’t want anyone touching me.

If you’re not familiar with childbirth, when a baby is ready to come out, you push as if you have to take a poop. It’s the weirdest feeling because not only are you dealing with the pressure from baby bearing down, but you’ve also got those contractions kicking. It’s hard to focus and stay calm but I pushed and pushed and pushed and Baby Elle was born into the world at 5: 27pm. I was in active labor for 5 hours and I pushed for 17 minutes. My labor went so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to rip my shirt and bra off.

DSC_5561

My labor and delivery is considered speedy for a first time mom and quite frankly, after everything was said and done, I felt like I deserved an effing award. Soooo many people told me I was crazy for having a baby in a birthing center without the option of an epidural and pain meds. If I had to do it all over again, I would not have changed anything. Because Elle was considered small at 5 lbs, the birthing center recommended that we go to the hospital (uggghhhh) to have her fully examined. We were hesitant to do this because her Apgar scores were already high at a 9 and 10 and we just knew the hospital would give us a bunch of run around. And we were right. We spent hoursssss at the hospital. Just for them to tell us what we already knew. Our baby was healthy. Just small with a touch of jaundice. This detour to the hospital prevented Elle and I from really practicing her latch when it came to breastfeeding. It also resulted in two overwhelmed and fatigued first time parents who wanted nothing more than to just take their baby home.

So yes, while my labor and delivery was “perfect”, the events that followed were not. But it doesn’t matter. Baby Elle is here and she’s happy and healthy.

I always considered myself to be a strong woman, both physically and mentally. Giving birth to my daughter gave me a new badge of honor. I left that birthing center so so soooo proud of myself. Yes, I was terrified that my baby decided to come 3 weeks early and I was soooo sad that family members and friends couldn’t make it but the pride I had in myself trumped the sadness and fear that enveloped me during labor.

And not to sound like some superwoman, but pregnancy, labor and delivery are all easy compared to the struggle that came with breastfeeding and dealing with those postpartum hormones. THAT’S the part that people don’t tell you about. Stay tuned for more posts on life with baby. I know Clumps is a beauty blog but I think it’s important to normalize conversations like breastfeeding and the not so bubbly parts about being a first time mom. And if you could care less about that kind of stuff and would rather read about cosmetics, then hey, it’s all good too. I promise not to overload the blog with baby stuff. Maybe once a week or so. :wink:

Mascara Monday: MAC Cosmetics In Extreme Dimension Lash mascara

DSC_4548

I haven’t reviewed a MAC Cosmetics products in like…forever. Which is nuts because years ago, I only wore MAC everything. This is actually my 2nd purchase from them in all of 2012. Crazy, right? The brand hasn’t really had much that has impressed me and it wasn’t until a friend told me about this mascara until I realized I hadn’t reviewed one of theirs in foreveeeer. Oppsies.

DSC_4547

Price: $20 at MAC counters and at MACCosmetics.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 2 out of 5
Overall: 2.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Lashes take on unreal scale, structure and sweep-and now in a new Carbon shade, techno-chic black. The M•A•C patented brush design holds more mascara as rows of micro fibers weave in between lashes to separate, define and enhance on a dramatic lash-by-lash level.” (source)

The Truth: Oh no. This mascara…just no. No no no.

What I Loved About It: It’s got a nice consistency. I didn’t love it but it worked.

What I Didn’t Like: The wand and the huge hole just totally ruined the mascara for me.

Overall: Welp. It beez that way sometimes. People adore MAC Cosmetics and they are always expected the best of the best of the best of the best. But they aren’t perfect. No brand is and this mascara is an example of that. Everything about it makes it appear that it’ll be a great mascara though. The packaging is adorable and the claims got me all kinds of excited. A quick unscrew of the wand and I know this mascara just wasn’t going to work for me. First, let’s look at the wand…

DSC_4554

Meh. It tried but want to know why it really failed? Because of the huge hole without a stopper.

DSC_4551

DSC_4552

Yep, even stellar brands like MAC have become a victim to this notorious problem in mascaras. It drives me up a wall and I will throw a party the day brands realize how frustrating this is. The wand has the potential to be great, of course, but when it is pulled out of the tube, it’s all gunky and nasty and it takes the user a few seconds to wipe off the excess mascara residue. Ugh. It’s frustrating and I immediately start hating a mascara every time I have to deal with this issue.

Now once you’ve wiped off the excess mascara, you’ll find that the wand itself isn’t half bad. The bristles are nice and stiff and the formula of the mascara makes it so that they coat your lashes nicely. Still, I would have likely gotten more out of the mascara if I didn’t have to spend the time removing mascara gunk.

The formula is nice and I was able to get a good 3 coats without any problems. I didn’t experience any smudging or flaking and while I got decent length, the volume was just so so. I believe a plusher wand would have resulted in more volumized lashes so I wasn’t surprised to see the lack of volume. Still, the mascara disappointed me to the n’th degree because of that wand.

 

Bare Lashes



DSC_2773


Lashes after 3 coats


DSC_4494

Do I recommend it?: Nope. MAC has better mascaras. This just isn’t one of them.

Any MAC lovers in the house? Have you tried this mascara yet?


The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 74

DSC_4658

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Beauty Junkies Unite – Amber puts Maybelline’s newest mascara to the test, The Rocket Volum’ Express. See the before and after pics to decide if it’s for you!

Clumps of Mascara – is lovin’ Clinique’s super intense lip balms. You pretty much need to haul them all. Seriously.

EauMG – talks about one of her favorite perfumes – regular ‘ole Chanel Coco.

Lipglossiping – explores the sweeter side of Jo Malone with the brand’s Spring 2013 fragrance launch.

Gouldylox Reviews – Ever want to grow a new finger? This cream might be able to do just that. Or maybe just reduce fine lines. Either way, this is a real thing.

Nouveau Cheap – Wet n Wild’s first-ever eyeshadow primer might just be my favorite primer of the year, and it’s only January. Click here to find out why.

Pink Sith – Has Chantecaille “Jumped the Shark” with their latest Save The Sharks 4 pan palette? Find out in this very honest review.

Prime Beauty – steps out of her brown/bronze/beige neutral comfort zone with bareMinerals new Remix Collection, a color-lovers delight!

Vampy Varnish – Thinks the new Nicole by OPI 2013 Nail Lacquers are pretty great, and at a drugstore near you soon!

we heart thisMAC Strength shows us a lip color combo that’s a one, two punch!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Beauty Junkies UniteThis post from Jessica at Beautezine made me swoon over the new Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipsticks!

 

Question of the Week:

Do you think cosmetic ads should have a disclaimer if
they use excessive photoshop, false lashes and such?

B says, “Absolutely!! I’ve seen some mascara ads actually say that false lashes were used and I’m all like, “Wait…I have to use false lashes to get those results?” What crock!”

What do you think?

 

Armitron Watch Giveaway!

Wellllllll, it’s a new year and yours truly needed to step her game up in the watch department. I used to be obsessed with watches, y’all. I mean seriously obsessed. But I go through phases with watches. One minute I need to haul every single one that I see and the next I’m all like, “Whatever…I don’t need to wear a watch today.” Armitron has reeled me back into my obsession and I’m glad because watches really do complete a look.

DSC_5325

Esposo is a watch guy so he was all kinds of giddy about getting the opportunity to test drive this baby.

DSC_5311

These pieces are the newest from Armitron’s Spring 2013 collection. We’ll rap on Esposo’s watch first.

DSC_5313

DSC_5314

Retailing for only $33, I like this watch because it’s nice enough to dress up and dress down. Because Esposo works in a pretty active field, he prefers watches that are pretty durable and can take a beating and still keep on tickin’. The blue face makes it wearable and the bling gives it a nice added touch of class.

And then there’s this gorgeous rose gold watch

DSC_5317

I’ve had my fair share of watches but I’ve never owned a rose gold one. I’m a silver lovin’ gal and can get pretty stuck in my ways but ZOMG, I think I’m starting to love rose gold.

DSC_5321

A bit on the fancier side, this is the kind of watch that I’d only want to wear for date nights, church, special events or Girl’s Night Out. I find it far too gorgeous to wear every day. It retails for $60 so it’s not too much of a wallet breaker.

DSC_5329

The best thing about Armitron watches is that they are afforable and durable. Both of the watches retail for under $75 which ain’t too shabby if you are looking to step up your watch game. And because I love y’all, I’ve decided to give away a his and her watch set.

One lucky winner will win the following:

DSC_5304

DSC_5330

And if you’re lookin’ for more beautiful Armitron watches, check out their store on Amazon. In the meantime, press your luck to win these kids. Oh! And this is an International-friendly giveaway. Woo hooo!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Wet ‘n Wild MegaLast polishes

Yep! I’m back with more super affordable polishes from Wet ‘n Wild. I’ve done formal reviews of these before (check out this post) so I’m just going to show off these pretty babies. Sound good?

Piccies-001

Coool…let’s go!

DSC_1468

2% Milk has the best name ever because it’s SO dead on with the description of the polish. Not that you could ever get me drink milk. *gags* But nail polish wise, this is such a nice and milky jelly. It would be perfect for American manicures. Not that you could get me to wear one of those. :razz: I actually like how this looks solo.

DSC_1479

Haze of Love could best be described as a plum-y cherry. It’s a burgundy that is nothing spectacular but I seriously think cream finishes make everything better.

DSC_1493

Tropicalia is a coral and I had the most difficult time trying to photograph it. It looks hot pink but in real life it’s a coral that leans more on the orange side.

DSC_1507

Private Viewing is a pale pecan cream and it’s another polish that would probably look good with a French or American manicure of some kind.

DSC_1514

On A Trip is a blurple lavender cream. And she’s quite the stunner.

DSC_1521

Sugar Coat is a pale pink cream and like its similar siblings, it’s nothing particular special. I will definitely be using this polish for some jelly sandwiches though.

I used 2 coats for each polishes and the sheer creams (2% Milk, Private Viewing and Sugar Coat) could probably go for 3 to get more of an opaque finish. It’s hard to get them to apply evenly but if you’ve got the time, you’ll love the final look. Like all Wet ‘n Wild MegaLast polishes, these have the wide brushes that people like me love. And by ‘people like me’, I mean those of us with super wide nail beds.

You can grab these at most drugstores for only $2.99 a pop.

Clinique Chubby Wubby Lip Colour Balms

Clinique does it again. They’ve managed to create an amazing lip product that I’m obsessed with. Their Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms have been around for quite some time but now Clinique has some reformulated ones that are more…intense. Yes, girl…yes! Intense color is definitely my preference when it comes to lip products. And um, let’s face it – when have you ever seen a super pigmented lip stick thingy like this? I haven’t!

DSC_4652

Soooo, I mean, what IS this stick of wonderfulness? According to Clinique, these lip balms are a blend between a moisturizing lip balm and a full coverage lip colour. And that definition is pretty dead on to me. I usually always apply a lip balm before applying any a lipgloss or lipstick but with these, I can just put it on and go.

DSC_4653

At $16 a pop, you get a good amount of product.

DSC_4655

DSC_4658

DSC_4662

And no, love…you don’t have to worry about having a massive sharpener for these. Simply twist that little silver knob at the bottom and you’re good to go.

DSC_4660

There are 5 gorgeous shades of these but I’m highlighting my favorites…

DSC_4667

Curviest Caramel is a soft pink that also leans more on the nude-y side. I didn’t think it would work well with my complexion but it’s pretty darn spectacular. I’ve been able to rock it confidently without a lipliner and all. Woot!

DSC_4690

Plushest Punch is a gentle magenta and this is my favooooorite. I find it to be a great everyday color. It also seems to be a bit more glossy than some of the other shades. Which is a nice little perk. :cool:

DSC_4697

Heftiest Hibiscus looks orange at first glance but but really it’s more of an orange-y coral. It works well for me and it’s such a nice shade to have in the bunch.

DSC_4718

Grandest Grapes almost looks like Plushest Punch but it has more purple in it. It’s darker and richer and I find it to be a gorgeous pop of color on days when I’m not doing too much with the eyes.

DSC_4720

Mighest Maraschino is a red and bay-bee, it is really red. It’s got some blue in it so I think it’ll work well for all complexions. It’s the perfect “intro to red” for those who aren’t ready to wear super glossy red lips.

So let’s see, these are…
-Moisturizing
-Long-lasting (I can get good wear for about 4-5 hours)
-Nicely pigmented
-Easy to find
-In a number of diverse shades

Cost: $16/ea
Where To Buy?: Clinique counters and Clinique.com

Have you gals tried these yet? Pretty impressive, uh?

Mascara Monday: Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara

Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara

Confession: I don’t really use many Bobbi Brown products. There’s no real reason other than I find the products to be pretty pricey and nothing really catches my eyes. And you know what? I can save up for pricey cosmetics but said cosmetics need to freaking turn my head with their packaging and performance, ya know? And I never felt that way about good ole’ BB. But it’s high time that I try one of her mascaras. I ordered this one during a Sephora sale and was all kinds of excited about trying it out.

Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara 2

Price: $24 at Bobbi Brown counters, Sephora and at Sephora.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 2.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “This pliable formula stays flexible even after it dries, so each coat goes on as fresh as the first—immediately or hours later—with zero dragging, clumping, or flaking. The tapered brush grabs even the smallest, hard-to-reach lashes.” (source)

The Truth: Meh. It’s just meh.

What I Loved About It: It’s a long-lasting mascara. Whether you love the outcome or not, you can pretty much guarantee that the mascara itself won’t go anywhere until you’re ready to remove it.

What I Didn’t Like: It didn’t give me much of anything.

Overall: Oh man. It kinda sucks that my first experience with a Bobbi Brown mascara is pretty so so. I was expecting fireworks and instead I barely love a flame. Oh boo. The first time I tried this mascara I was WOW’d in the least but I tried it daily for a week and by the end of the week I was just very much underwhelmed. It’s just such a mediocre mascara. And I don’t really blame the wand because even though it isn’t the greatest, it isn’t terrible either.

mascara wand

Not my ideal choice for a mascara wand but it appears that it would be great for volumizing, right? Even if you’ve got baby lashes, this brush can sweep ‘em out and help elongate and plump the lashes with ease. But alas, I didn’t experience any of that greatness. And maybe it had something to do with the formula.

The formula almost seemed non-existent. I would have actually preferred a thick and obnoxious formula compared to nothing at all. It took a good 2 coats for me to really spot the mascara on my lashes. And even then, my lashes didn’t seem to do much of anything. By the 3rd coat, I gave up on trying to achieve much of anything and just assumed that the mascara wouldn’t be as “extreme” as it claimed. *sigh* I hate when this happens. But this is the mascara game yo. I’m used to it.

The good news is, if you aren’t looking for a super crazy mascara that will give you volume and length but want something long-lasting, this baby is it. I was impressed at how it didn’t flake or smudge throughout the day. Which, of course, is a total perk in my book. So yeah…so not extreme but ride or die? Yeah.

 

Bare Lashes



BB eyelashes


Lashes after 2 coats


BB eyelashes

Do I recommend it?: Nope. I plan on trying out more Bobbi Brown mascaras but this one so isn’t worth your $24.

Any Bobbi Brown lovers in the house? What do you think about this mascara?


Baby Clumps is here!

DSC_5654

…I mean, woooooow. I am just as shocked as you are. Elle came 3 weeks early and surprised us all.

By the way, it’s pronounced “El”. Not “El-ly”. Ellie is cute but you wouldn’t believe how many people have pronounced it that way. Which kinda sorta boggles my mind.

DSC_5656

I’m so in love with her. Everything she does amazes me. I’m pretty impressed with myself too. And Esposo. I’ll share her birth story in the coming weeks but there really isn’t much to say. Water broke. Active labor for 5 hours. Pushed for 17 minutes. Birthed a babe on January 7th…5 days after my birthday and in a comfortable birthing center.

DSC_5626

Baby girl was born only weighing 5 lbs so we’re working hard to get her to gain weight. She has to go to the pediatrician every other day or so. I’ve got a dream team of a midwife, doula, pediatrician and lactation consultant. And honestly, having the baby was the easy part. Breastfeeding is a whole ‘nother beast that is challenging but I am so dedicated to get down.

DSC_5614

I am beyond sleep deprived but whatever. Baby Clumps is here and she’s healthy and some kind of awesome. She’s so tiny but so strong. She motivates me. Life is even more amazing.

Posts will be slow around here but for good reason. :cool: