The Old Skool Mama and Pink Nail Polish

A lot of parents like to pretend like they never had a gender preference when they found out they were expecting a baby. Yeah whatever. I keeps it real. Esposo and I both wanted a boy. Mainly because we both have sisters and thought having a son would be a nice and new adventure. And then we found out we were expecting a girl and…

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…we were thrilled. Baby Clumps is the best thing in our lives and she is just perfect in every way. I see why God blessed us with this girl. I am loving our Mother and daughter relationship and can’t wait to do all kinds of fun things with her.

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Like polish her nails. It’ll be years before that happens though. I’m a beauty blogger, yes, but I am an old skool mama and want my daughter to fully understand that cosmetics are for fun. And they aren’t a necessity to life.

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Being a mother is the scariest task ever because I don’t want to “mess her up”, ya know? I don’t want to give her a complex. I want to give her a strong foundation of love, self-acceptance and I want her to recognize beauty in all things and all people. And if she really wants it, I’ll let her have COVERGIRL’s Pink Lady polish.

Covergirl Glosstini nail polish

I love these polishes. Mainly because most of them are pretty opaque after only 2 coats. And they are so so glossy.

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Remember these? Yeah. And they dry pretty quickly too. There are some things  I just can’t wait for.

One being my nail polishes to dry.

And then are some things I CAN wait for.

One being my baby girl growing up….

A Message On Mother’s Day 2013

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People think that Mother’s Day is a day just for women who are are Mothers in the traditional sense of the word. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve grown up in a culture that truly believes in the “It takes a village” philosophy. Mamas can’t be everywhere all the time so that’s when other mama-figures step in. Who said you have to physically give birth to a child to help mother them? No. Motherhood is far more than conception and birth. Motherhood is being that safe place, having that nurturing spirit, the tear and boo boo wiper, the comic relief, the support system, the stickler, the teacher and the friend when needed. Motherhood is truly a verb.

It’a commercial holiday, yes, but this is one that I’ve always felt was okay. Why shouldn’t we shower our Mothers with love and affection? Shouldn’t we do so everyday? Absolutely. But we don’t. So if it takes one day to truly pamper, love on Moms and let them know how invaluable they are, well then…I’m all for it.

Mother’s Day is also a day for mourning. Some mourn the loss of their mothers, either in the physical sense or because a relationship wasn’t or isn’t in place. Some mourn the loss of their children on Mother’s Day. Or they feel inadequate because they aren’t Mothers in the traditional sense. Take solace in knowing that motherhood does not determine womanhood or a woman’s value. And if a mother touched our lives for even a short second or a short lifetime, she should be celebrated, even if she has gone on to glory.

So yes, I have always celebrated Mother’s Day by gifting my mothers and friends who are mothers with cards and treats. Being a mother is hard. The constant worrying, the wondering if you’re doing everything right, the sleepless nights, the critics who question your parenting choices but ooooh, motherhood is also a blessing. One of the biggest one’s in my life.

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I thank God everyday for Elle. Yes, Alex and I did the work to bring her in this world (too much info? Ha!) but I truly believe she chose me. I could have never crafted such an amazing being on my own. I’ve babysat and been a nanny to dozens of children so I’ve always had an adoration for children but it skyrocketed when I gave birth to Elle in that small room at the birthing center 4 months ago. Elle is special. I’m sure all parents say that about their children but there is truly something dynamic about this 4-month old who has mastered smiling and stealing hearts. She has been a joy to our family during some tough times. She has given me more purpose and more of a reason to work hard each day. On my first Mother’s Day, I thank my daughter Elle. I thank her for choosing me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. To all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, mother-in-laws, stepmothers, older sisters, aunts, friends, teachers, caretakers and pet mommies.  Bless you all!

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 3 Months Old!

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Dear Elle,

You are 3 months old. I type that with tears in my eyes because I remember being 3 months pregnant with you. Technically you have existed for well over a year and I’m just amazed at how perfectly you fit in my life and in this world. It’s true what they say. It does get easier. The first few months of newborn-ing is hard. Sleep deprivation is painful. It’s a physical and emotional kind of pain that I can’t begin to explain. But we are slowly getting past that. I mean, yeah….I am still sleep deprived but I think my body can handle it a lot better. I spend so many days wondering if I am doing everything right. Are these the right bottles? Should I really allow you to sleep on your tummy? Is going back to work the best decision?

There were so many challenges this month but you, me, your daddy…we got through them. Pumping became easier. I stopped crying over the fact that I couldn’t nurse you. I began feeling grateful for being able to have an abundant supply that has not only fed you but has fed 4 other babies up and down the East coast. I knew that financially we couldn’t afford for me to stay home with you so I did the most difficult thing I ever had to do. I put you in someone else’s care.

Oh, but what a blessing she is. Your sitter adores you. She hugs you and kisses you, snuggles you and sings to you. She’s patient and gives you the attention that I would want you to have. She engages you and plays with you. She’s a gift and she made returning to work so much easier for me.

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And you? Well you’re no longer my sleep all day and night newborn. Your personality is here and I’m lovin’ it! You are such a morning person. Within seconds of waking up, you get to smiling. You give me these huge smiles that warm my heart. You like music and sounds. Every morning when I’m getting ready, I let you watch a few minutes of Nick Jr on the iPad and you seem so engaged. As if you really know what’s going on. You babble and coo. I love when I talk to you and you coo back at me. Your mouth makes this adorable little O.

You learned how to roll over and hold onto your toys. You enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror and you lift that neck alllll the way up during tummy time. It’s been rough but we’ve been working on a schedule. We try to create routine events so that you know what to expect. You don’t sleep through the night and many people are telling me that just a little formula or rice in your milk will help. I’m avoiding both because I think it’s okay that you aren’t sleeping through the night yet. You’re still young. And it’s okay. Plus, I don’t know what I’d do if you slept 8 hours straight. I’d be freaking out.

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You’re a stylish somethin’. You’ve got so many adorable clothes and you look just as sweet as pie in them. Your hair is growing and your eczema is slowly clearing up. You are so beautiful. So so beautiful. I can’t stop looking at you. Your eyes glow. They are losing some of the gray that they once had and are becoming a sparkling and rich brown. Your eyes are captivating. Your dimples are deep. Your skin is soft and my heart is yours.

Mommy is so excited about all of these milestones, but please…take your time. I am enjoying this stage with you but I don’t want it to fly by too quickly.

Oh and as for me? I’m not losing any weight. I’m not gaining either. I’m not as ravenous so now I’m being a bit more conscious about what I eat – more greens and lean meats. It’s a challenge. Now that I’m back at work I walk a mile a day and go up and down the flights of stairs 3 times a day. I’m trying. I miss the gym but for now I’ll do what I can. Once we get in more of a routine, I’ll see if I can do the gym thing.

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Daddy and I are trying. I hope you know that. And we’re so proud of you.

This month you…

-Sucked your thumb
-Sat upright in a Bumbo chair
-Went to work with Mommy and was on your best behavior
-Stopped the startle reflex (we called it the “Help me!”)
-Began singing and coo-ing
-Reached out for your toys

You are a rockstar.

Love you,

Mommy

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle Is 1 Month Old!

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Wow. My little baby girl is already a month old. I’m all kinds of emotional about it. I’m so excited that she’s growing and thriving and becoming even more amazing each day. But I’m sad because well, she’s almost a big girl. Kind of.

I know folx are like, “Come on, B. She’s only a month old.” But I feel like I was just pregnant yesterday. I never understand why parents got so weepy over their kids going to kindergarten but yeah, now I get it. Speaking of ‘Dumb Things Those Who Aren’t Parents Say’, I was that non-parent that talked a lot of trash about what I WOULDN’T do when I had kids. I’d say stuff like…

“I would never co-sleep. That’s so unsafe.”
“Breastfeeding is the ONLY option for me. I will never give my baby formula.”
“I’m letting my baby cry it out. Otherwise they’ll get spoiled if I ALWAYS pick them up.”

Lies. Lies. Lies.

I proudly co-sleep. Due to latching issues, I had to give Elle formula three times. And I have yet to let her ‘cry it out’. Parenthood does turn you into a different person. I’ve been caught staring at her while she sleeps. Because I just don’t understand what I’ve done in this life to get granted the opportunity to be her mommy. Why did God select me?

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The first few weeks after her birth were emotional and rough. It’s true what people say – you really do get used to being sleep deprived. Elle is a great baby in that she actually sleeps through the night. She wakes up to eat and goes right back to sleep. However, she seems to only really want to go back to sleep while laying on someone’s chest. Which I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t so uncomfortable to me. Neither Esposo and I sleep well with her sleeping on our chests but we succumb to it because some sleep is better than no sleep. And Elle the Belle is a cranky something sleeping in her cradle.

My Mom and sister’s help the first 2 weeks were invaluable. And so were the love and support from my friends. I tried so hard to do everything by myself but it was impossible. I NEEDED the help.

Physically, after a week or so I felt just fine. Due to Elle being born early, we had to do a lot of running around with her to and from doctor’s appointments. My body had no choice but to bounce back quickly. My appetite is out of control. I am foreverrrrr starving and snacking around the clock.

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Breastfeeding is not going well. I feel like I’m on an episode of True Life: You Thought Breastfeeding Was Going To Be Easy. I should have known better. There’s a reason why there are so many support groups for breastfeeding women. It IS that difficult. A baby doesn’t always just latch on a boob and go to town. There are so many situations that make it difficult for mom and baby. In Elle’s case, the lactation consultant said she may have some oral motor issues. Latching her brings tears to my eyes but I try daily because I am confident that one day she will do it. I’m going to a La Leche League meeting soon and have joined several “Exclusive Pumpers” groups because you soooo need support during a time like this. In the meantime, I’ve been pumping every 2 hours (every 3 hours at night) to ensure that I have enough milk to feed Elle via bottle. It’s exhausting.

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Pumping and bottle preparation is time consuming. I have to pump, prepare the bottle, clean pumping equipment, feed baby and repeat. And I’m screwed if she’s starving WHILE I’m pumping because then I have to feed her while I pump. And if I leave the house, I HAVE to be back within 2 hours or else my boobs become engorged and painful. Everyday I want to quit but my dedication to giving Elle the BEST is what keeps me going. How this will work when I have to go back to work is beyond me. I’ve been freezing my expressed milk so that she can continue to have my milk even when I can’t pump as much. The breastfeeding thing put me in a depressive hole for weeks. I felt like a horrible mother for not being able to do it and I hated that it couldn’t be easier for me. Each day gets better. I wish I would have done more research about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. I just knew I wouldn’t have any problems and had I been more informed, I would not have been so stressed out. But you can’t have it all, right? I had a great pregnancy and great labor and delivery. To be honest, I would have traded a longer labor for an easier breastfeeding experience but ah well…

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So yeah, we’re truckin’ along. I am not looking forward to going back to work. Work from home mom? Um yeah. Would love to. At least for a year. It’s isn’t an option for us so having to drop her off at daycare is going to kill my soul. But let’s stick with the important things. Elle is healthy, happy , adorable and she’s got so many people that adore her. Esposo and I are doing the best we can as first time parents and we couldn’t be more happier to have her in our lives.

Elle Stats:

Weight - Around 7 lbs
Cool Tricks - Opens mouth wide when you kiss her chin, holds head, attempts to hold bottle, smiles/laughs while sleeping.
Favorite Spots - On Mommy or Daddy’s chest, in a baby carrier, her Boppy and bouncy chair.

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!]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Baby Clumps is here!

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Baby Clumps has a cosmetics case!

Yes y’all. My child already has a cosmetic bag. And don’t go judging me. It’s not like I  will have her wearing lipgloss just yet. In fact, I’m  pretty old fashioned so even though her mommy is big into cosmetics, Baby Clumps probably won’t be allowed to wear anything until she’s in middle school. Maybe high school.

Except a lil’ nail polish here or there. :cool:

I’m in the process of packing my labor bag and Bean’s birthing center bag and just wanted to show off a bit of the goodies in her bag.

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As much as I don’t like the color, I’ve learned that I just can’t avoid pink when it comes to baby girl stuff. I’m dealing with it though because everything is so much cuter when it’s itty bitty. Since I’ll be giving birth at a birthing center, we have to bring all of the comforts of home. For baby skincare products, I’m obsessed with Shea Moisture Baby and Earth Mama Angel Baby. These will likely be the first two items that hit Bean’s skin shortly after her birth.

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Her little comb and brush…

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…although she may be a baldy. Which is adorable. And I’m not sure how soon I can go around brushing her tender scalp so we may not even use these.

Her nail clippers and filer…

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Because I hear that some newborns have super long nails. I don’t want Bean to accidentally scratching herself so we’re going to make sure those nails are cut low.

And that’s it! I’ll show off her coming home outfit soon. It’s getting soooo close, y’all. Eeeek!

Baby Clumps: 34 Weeks

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Yep. I’m still pregnant. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever and yet people keep telling me I still have such a looooong way to go. Which just annoys me. Basically I’m cranky pretty much ALL the time.

But I try not to look it. In fact, I try to leave the house looking as fly and gorgeous as I can. Just because I feel like crap doesn’t mean I should look like it, darling. Mama Clumps taught me this and it’s a rule that I think everyone should follow. Unless you’ve got a migraine. It’s okay to look like hell if you have a migraine. Yep.

Here’s what Bean is up to,

“Your amazing baby is on the move! Until now, your wee womb-squatter’s been living fairly high up in your poor stretched-out womb – blithely compressing your poor lungs and internal organs. This week your baby’s going to pack their tiny bags and make the epic shifting move to your pelvis – commonly referred to as the time when baby “drops”. If you haven’t noticed it already, you’ll be feeling the weight shift indicating your baby is most likely out of breech position with their head now resting on your pubic bone. In developing internal-organ news: although not quite fully formed, your little poop-factory’s liver is now capable of processing a certain amount of waste.” (source)

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I’m pretty sure she has dropped. I can’t tell by looking at my belly but I am peeing a lot more and I just feel “heavy” down there. Fatigue is constant yet my workload continues to pile up so I can’t get much sleep. I’ve become incredibly lazy after work and have a hard time doing chores. I’ve had a few bouts of sadness and yeah, I’m putting it out there because pregnancy isn’t all sprinkles and longer hair and nails. I’m not even in the Christmas spirit (soooo unlike me) mainly because I’m too tired and lazy to decorate. Esposo’s work schedule has been crazy so we’re both always coming and going.

I’ve finally realized that I kinda sorta look pregnant (took long enough) and can’t do everything but then I feel bad when I can’t. Ah well.

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Health-wise, my blood pressure is down! Woo hoooo. I’m still drinking my 90oz of water. I’m not eating super healthy but whatev. My fitness is practically non-existent because walking for too long hurts. I suppose I could be doing some prenatal yoga and stretching though. I had all of these plans for what I wanted to do while pregnant and at this point, just getting up and going to work each day seems like a challenge so I’m doing the best that I can.

The nursery/beauty room is still a hot mess…

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And I’m all like…

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…because I literally have no idea where to start. And you know it’s sad when your own mom has to send you a To Do List of things to do before baby arrives. I know. I’m a mess. A stressed mess in a dress. Eeek!

 

Total Weight Gain: 8 lbs

Symptoms: Morning sickness, fatigue, irritability, stuffy nose, nightly leg cramps, insomnia, back pain.

Bean’s Activity: She’s crazy active. Some days she moves for hourssssss at a time.

Food Cravings: None. But don’t ask me to go to the grocery store. I’ll only come back with cookies, candy and ice cream. :cool:

Last Day of Work: Don’t have one. I plan to work up until I go into labor. Crazy but hey, maternity leave in the U.S. sucks. Gotta get what you can while you can.

Christmas shopping?: I haven’t done any. None. At all. Like…none.

Baby Name?: Yep! Bean officially has a first and middle name. It won’t be revealed until after she’s born though. Only close friends and family members know.

 

Is it crazy that I don’t have much done and this baby could arrive in the next month? Got any tips for me? Oh…and as far as that cloth diapering thing – yeah, no. I’m going to go with disposables for now. Maybe I’ll do some part-time cloth diapering but as a working mom, I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle that.