Meet Erika~ A New Momma
I am a proud wife of a Naval Officer. A daughter to two amazing, strong, loving parents. A sister to four beautiful, smart, incredible women. A friend to some selfless, caring, involved individuals who know who they are. Most recently and I have to say probably my new favorite role in life, is… I am a MOM! to a perfect, healthy, smiley, wide-eyed little boy that stole my heart the moment he was placed in my arms. All of these people make me who I am as an individual, and for them I am forever grateful.
What is your biggest strength as a mom?
I am very new to motherhood, so I am still in the “figuring it out” phase, however if I had to pick a strength I would say my ability to multitask. Life doesn’t stop when you bring your baby home, there is still much to be done. The ability to balance, baby, relationship, work and keeping the house from looking like a disaster is something I take a lot of pride in making a strong quality of mine.
How have you spent time away from Blake?
Hmmm… Can I get back to you in six more months! Ha-ha! Recently when my Mom was in town I was able to sneak away for a manicure and pedicure, it was lovely. I am also a huge fan of just getting in the car alone, rolling the windows down, turning my country music up and running errands.
What is your favorite thing about being a new mom?
My favorite thing about being a new mom is the feeling I get every time I look at my son. I have always heard moms say there is no love like a mother’s love, and now that I am a mom I can say without a doubt it’s so true! I also love that every day with him is something new, he has already grown and changed so much in just six and a half weeks.
What has come easiest to you?
Hmmm… I would have to say that my ability to comfort my babe has come easier than other things. I love that our bodies fit like puzzle pieces, when he is upset I just hold him tight and rock him until he calms down. It’s a feeling like no other knowing that I am the place he finds security; I hope that bond never changes even when he’s bigger than me! Ha!
What has been a surprising challenge?
I would say a surprising challenge has been dealing with a few breastfeeding hiccups. Like any new mom that decides to breastfeed, you cross your fingers that baby is placed on your chest and figures out how to find, and feed on their own. Blake did this like a little champ! He latched on right away, had a healthy suck/swallow reflex I thought I was golden! It made me so happy. I looked forward to nursing him in the hospital, it was the most surreal feeling.
The first few days nursing him at home came so naturally, still loving it. Then…my milk came in.This is when our challenges began, as women we have no way of knowing how our bodies are going to handle certain changes. I felt like mine was confused and trying to feed triplets! My milk came in full force, and come to find out I have an “over-achiever” boob and a powerful let-down. Hosing my newborn during a feed was not exactly what I had expected nor was emotionally prepared for after having such a great experience in his first few days of life.
I found myself pumping just so he could latch on because my boobs would fill up so quickly. This was not a great idea because this just made matters more difficult. I ended up just nursing him on the one side that was manageable for him and pumping the other.
Of course I’m willing to do whatever it takes so he can eat comfortably but for me, this was a huge bummer and kind of annoying. Simultaneously Blake is also having green slimy poop… ;( which could only be coming from one source, my milk. We have been back and forth to see his pediatrician since his one week check-up. His doc is leaning towards a food allergy, so mom is officially off dairy and eggs. Hopefully we will see some improvement soon. Despite the challenges, I love breastfeeding my baby and feel very fortunate to be able to do so, super boob and all. 😉
Describe your pregnancy~
My pregnancy was amazing! It was a blissful 42 weeks! Okay, the last two weeks he decided to stay in my belly were a bit much. I was very happy to be pregnant after trying for over a year and experiencing a couple failed pregnancies, this baby was our lucky charm. I was fortunate to not have morning sickness, I was able to lead my normal active life style until the very end.
For all the other “birth story junkies” out there… Can you share yours with us?
The delivery was an experience I will never forget. We were two weeks past due, and scheduled for an induction Monday morning March 7th . The plan all along was to have a natural birth in the birthing suite at UCSD under midwife care. The thought of navigating away from our original birth plan bummed me out, however at that point I was so eager to meet this nugget that I just wanted him to arrive safely. Sunday March 6th around 5am I began having contractions. I labored at home all day with my husband and our dog Sandler by my side, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart by 7:30pm. My husband called the midwives to let them know where I was at, and they said come on in! We arrived at the hospital around 8 pm, we hiked it across the parking lot stopping every minute it felt like so I could breathe through the pain.
My favorite midwife Elizabeth was on shift that night, when I saw her face I knew her energy would carry me through! She examined me, I was at 8 cm and my water broke right there on the table! It just remember thinking, we are so close I can do this, then OH MY GOSH I’m going to have this baby! I have to be honest I did ask for pain medication several times, I even told my husband as we were walking across the parking lot, “ I don’t care anymore, I just want an epidural okay?!” HA! He was a great partner, he just said “Okay Hun, let’s get checked in and see where you’re at, okay?” We were moved into the birthing suite around 9:30pm, by this time I was in the zone! My body was getting ready and the while the pain meds would have been glorious I’m sure, I delivered our son naturally at 11:51pm.
The entire process was so magical, it was just my husband, our midwife, one nurse and myself in our room. It was storming outside, the room was dimly lit, it was perfect and so is HE! My husband was able to be very hands-on with the delivery, our midwife moved aside when it was time for him to “catch” the baby. He says it was the proudest moment in his entire life, which means the world to me because he has done some pretty heroic things in his lifetime. The feeling I felt when I saw him for the first time, when he was placed on my chest and our eyes met, his smell, his cry, his little wiggles, all of it, are stamped on my heart forever.
Your recovery hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. What happened?
The recovery was a bit rough, after having what was a documented and felt like a text book natural delivery, I developed some pain after he was out. I will keep this part brief because I would do it the same way all over again. I developed an internal hematoma (blood bruise) most likely from a fist or another appendage. The bruising caused major swelling that constricted my bladder, and put pressure on my bum. ;( I was in and out of the clinic for the first two weeks with urinary retention issues. No fun, I must say however, I will never take being able to pee freely for granted again!
What are you looking forward to doing most with you son? What comes to mind first?
Oh man! So many things, but the first thing that comes to mind is taking him to the park to play on the swings! My husband and I both loved playing on play grounds as children and just being outdoors. I look forward to exploring new places, mommy/son jogs in the stroller, going for hikes with dad, and celebrating the holidays. Having a new addition to the family makes the holidays just that much sweeter.
Oh Erika, your delivery sounded magical and your recovery intense. What an amazing outlook you share with us! Congrats on your beautiful boy! Thank you~