Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Let’s talk Hair

R.Simple Life | Post Partum Hair Loss

I’ve had straight, fine hair my whole life. I used to read that new mama’s hair would change. Previously brown hair would grow in red. Curly hair turns straight. I was always secretly hoping for a little more umph to my doo, but I’ll be honest. I liked my hair. I liked the natural highlights. I liked how easy it was to take care of. Sure, it didn’t hold a curl for longer than an episode of Boy Meets World (man, Topanga… talk about hair envy), but I could wash it and walk out of my house. And look presentable without touching it with so much as an ounce of hair spray.

When I was pregnant, it didn’t change much. Aside from it growing quicker and becoming slightly thicker, it stayed pretty much the same. The hair on my legs stopped growing, but the hair on my head was pretty much the same. Thank goodness. After I had Harry, I started noticing a bunch of three to four inch flyaways around my face and neck. I finally figured out it was new growth. Hair that had started growing where previously there was none when I was also growing a human.

And then Harry’s hair started to fall out. Poor guy went from a full head of black, thick hair, to a mohawk of thick, brown hair. Good thing mohawks are in, because he seriously lost everything on the sides (it’s since grown back). And I noticed one day that my bathtub drain wasn’t draining as well. Yep. Harry and I started losing hair at the same time.

Showers were now 10 minutes longer, as I attempted to keep the hair out of the drain. Our sheets were filled with long, brown, fine hair. The vacuum almost went on strike picking it all up. And Harry was always to be found with a few strands of Mama hair grasped tightly in his hand. My hair was falling out by the fistful. So I cut it.

I needed it to be shorter, because the hair that was falling out all over the place, was literally, all over the place. Plus, I was ready for my new growth to blend in a bit better. So I chopped it into a long bob. A look I enjoy (when I have the time to do it).

It’s been over two months, and I think we are finally seeing the slowing of the falling out of the hair (knock on wood please). I lost a lot. I knew I did. But it wasn’t until I looked in the mirror one day, my hair pulled back in a ponytail, and noticed scalp on the side. YES. Scalp on the side. You could see through my once thick locks to my skull.

Luckily I love the little boy who did this to me more than ever. I’d shave my whole head for him. But boy, when they talk about post-partum hair loss, they’re not kidding. It’s not a laughing matter. Two plus months of constant shedding. Two bottles of Drain-o. Presumably hours wasted in the shower keeping the hair from the drain.

Talk to me Mama’s. Did your hair fall out like this? And if it did… please tell me it came back. Please.

xoxo, Mallory

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Portrait of a Pregnancy

Pregnancy Collage

It’s only taken me 8 weeks (and 4 minutes) to compile all my belly shots, and considering I have a little gentleman who loves to snuggle, I’d say I’m ahead of the curve. It’s crazy looking back at my belly week by week and realizing that was our little Harry growing in there. Also funny – how huge I thought I was around week 17. And how many articles of clothing with stripes I own.

I’m so glad I have this to look back at one day. And show Harry, if he’s interested. It was a pretty exciting time in our lives… but nothing compared to what we’ve got happening now. (In case you want to see what I looked like at Week 40, click here.)

xoxo, Mallory

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I Can’t Live Without

Essentials for the first month

Well, tomorrow marks four weeks of blissful mommy- and daddy-hood. Four weeks. This weekend makes ONE MONTH. How has my little man been here so long already? I guess it’s true what they say – the time really does fly. It hasn’t all been kittens and roses, but even the 3am feedings are pretty magical. I love being a mom to Harry. There is nothing that could turn me off from it. It’s perfection.

I’m relearning what I already knew – advice sucks. Be it conflicting theories in child rearing books (SO much of that) or the well meaning musings of friends, family, and strangers, advice is something that is going in one ear and out the other in this household. I feel like I know my son well enough to know if I need to read up on something, ask a friend, or just trust my gut. And more often than not, after reading and discussing, I go with my gut anyway.

But here I am, giving advice. I have lots of friends who are pregnant with their first child right now, and many of them have asked me what I found helpful in the hospital and the first few weeks. Instead of giving each pregnant lady I know the much dreaded advice, I thought I’d compile a list of the things that got us through the first four weeks. So if you’re not into advice (I don’t blame you) feel free to skip this post. Though, I tried to make it as much of a “These were our favorite things” list and less of a “You simply MUST have this” list.

1. Newborn onesies. When I say newborn, I don’t mean 0-3 months. I wish I would have had more simple, white, newborn onesies. The first couple of days of Harry’s life, we went through three or more of these a day. I was convinced my baby was going to be big enough to fit into the 0-3 months onesies from the beginning, even if they were a bit baggy. But I forgot that babies lose weight in the first two weeks. Harry was born at 7lbs 4oz, but he was down to 6lbs 13 oz when we left the hospital. Newborn onesies were what he LIVED in for the first two and a half weeks. The cute clothes didn’t fit yet, and honestly, he soiled them so often I would have gotten frustrated putting a new outfit on him every two hours.

Oh, and bonus points for onesies and shirts that open in the front (and have built in mittens). Then you don’t have to pull them over his head (and he doesn’t scratch his face off). Which makes him a whole lot happier, and me feel like a way better parent.

2. Tucks pads (or similar witch hazel pads). Without going into too much detail for some of my readers who really don’t want to hear about this (Hi, Papa) these were necessary and such a huge relief for the first two weeks. There were times when I thought to myself that I would never heal, never feel better, never be able to sit normal again. But these were a sweet, sweet relief. Stock up.

3. Nursing tank tops. I lived in these, night and day, for the first couple of days. Your (ahem) ladies get so swollen you can’t even think about putting on a bra, even a nursing bra, but you need support and quick access. I still sleep in these at night. Grab at least 3-4. You’ll be doing laundry every day, if you’re anything like me and your baby is anything like Mr. McBlowout Diapers, but sometimes you’ll need to change in the middle of the night. I had 3 and I wished I had one more.

5. A soft chair. In the hospital, I didn’t sit on anything but the soft bed. So when I came home (oh, bring a pillow to sit on in the car) it wasn’t easy to sit on much aside from my bed or the couch. Luckily, my office chair has a bit of a cushion. I used it at our dining table for weeks.

6. Total Baby (iPhone app). For tracking dirty diapers (and their variety), feedings, sleep, baths, shots, doctor’s appointments and so much more. I love this app. Buy the $5 version. It is worth it’s price in the first 4 hours.

7. Different diaper varieties. When we were in the hospital, we used Huggies Little Snugglers for Newborns. They were great. But when we got home, I tried to use the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Newborn diapers… and they were just a tiny bit too big. Both sized for little newborns, but one worked for the first 10 days, and then (as luck would have it right as we ran out of the Huggies) the other fit perfectly. Different brands fit differently, so I would say to stock up on different brands when you’re buying diapers. Who knows what will work for your baby. Oh, and before going out to buy more newborn sized diapers, try a size one on your baby. You’ll be surprised that he might already fit.

8. Stretchy blankets. Harry isn’t huge on swaddling. He likes to have his hands free. And that’s okay with us. But for the first two weeks, we swaddled him religiously. And because he was squirmy and didn’t particularly love being swaddled, stretchier blankets worked much better to get a tight fit.

9. Different options for sleeping. We have Harry’s crib, a Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, and a swing. Not to mention mom and dad’s arms. The crib seemed so big and far away for the first week (he naps in there now) so we carried the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper all around the house. He actually still sleeps in that at night. The swing is nice to keep him down when he’s not too happy about going to sleep. It’s soothing. Having different options was great because (for now) Harry sleeps anywhere, and if he didn’t like one… we could move him to a different option. Check Craigslist for swings. I got mine for $30.

10. A good camera, and an easy camera. I love my Nikon D3100 to take the perfect pictures of those little toes and that great big baby mohawk, but my iPhone is always nearby so most of our daily captures are on that. I’m so glad there is a decent camera on that thing.

So there you have it. The ten things Harry and I have loved for the first four weeks. Anyone have any different essentials?

xoxo, Mallory

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Hypnobirthing

Harry and Mom

I’ve had a lot of pregnant friends (and a few without a child growing inside their uterus) ask about my experience with Hypnobirthing. For those of you unfamiliar with the birthing technique, click on that link. There is a lot of good information there. Before I get into this though, I’d like to add a disclaimer. This is just my personal experience. I actually never had time to finish the course. There were parts of Hypnobirthing I really enjoyed, and parts I skimmed over. It’s all a very personal experience. That being said, here’s what I think about it.

I did a home study from HypnoBabies because there wasn’t a class close enough. Because it was a home study, it was all on me to listen to the hypnosis CD’s and daily affirmations, as well as read the book and do the lessons. I’ll be totally honest when I tell you I did not listen the the affirmations daily, though I did listen to them a few times a week. And as I said before, I ran out of time before finishing the course.

There was so much about it that I really loved and a little that was a bit much for me. I definitely think it helped me relax and focus for the first few hours of labor. I was able to use hypnosis to fully relax my body when contractions hit. Distract myself with my happy place. However, the last two hours of labor, my contractions were so close together and painful I couldn’t clear my mind in between them, making it hard to use the hypnobirthing techniques to relax.

Overall, I do think it lessened my pain, especially for the first five hours. Even in those last two hours, Jonathan was able to help me remember certain aspects of Hypnobirthing to help ease the pain a bit, even if I couldn’t fully use the techniques.

In addition, Hypnobirthing, from what I learned, has a few ideas it’s built upon. There is something called the “Bubble of Peace” which helped me out a lot when people started telling me their horror stories from labor & delivery. I was able to tune the stories out and remember that every birth is different. I didn’t take it as far as Hypnobirthing preaches to do (putting your hand up, stopping the horrific story, and informing the storyteller I wanted only positive birthing stories), but instead I used my hypnosis distraction techniques to tune out.

There were a few things I disagreed with concerning Hypnobirthing. It is seemingly very anti-hospital, anti-doctor, anti-medicine. Which is fine. I knew that going into it. However, there were times when I found myself reading terrible stories about C-sections in my HypnoBabies book. I used my “Bubble of Peace” and closed that chapter right up. If something went wrong during my delivery and I had to be wheeled away to the operating room, I didn’t want to have those terrible stories circling in my brain. Another thing I personally didn’t agree with was purging any movies, television shows, stories from friends and family that portrayed birth as something painful and scary. Some people might find this very useful, however, I did not. I knew these were movies. I knew every birth is different. These things did not affect me.

I’d definitely recommend Hypnobirthing. I’ll use it again with future children. The best advice I can give is to really have an open mind about it and really, really practice. It gets a little granola sometimes (says the lady who gave birth standing up with no medication and with the help of a midwife and a doula) but it can be very helpful!

Anyone else out there do Hypnobirthing?

xoxo, Mallory

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The Story

Harry’s birthday was the best day of my life. One of the hardest, but the best. Maybe tied with our wedding day. There are so many emotions involved with that day, but aside from the tears streaming down my face as I write this, it’s not as easy as I had thought it would be to express them in this post. But today, as my son is one whole week old, I would love to share his story with you.

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January 9, 2013. 12:30 am. I woke up with another contraction, a little worse than the rest. I thought to myself that labor was coming, but this definitely was not the beginning. The remainder of the night passed in 10 or so more contractions, and luckily I was able to sleep in between. I wasn’t timing because obviously, they were irregular (or so I thought) and this was not real labor. By the time I woke up at 6, there was definitely a pattern.

Contractions were about 10 minutes apart at 7am, so I got ready for the day and sent Jonathan off to work (promising to call if my contractions sped up at all) as I logged into Style Me Pretty thinking I could possibly be working my last day before maternity leave. I tied up a few loose ends, just in case. By 10am, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, but (blame it on all the movies with all the false labor) I was thoroughly convinced it was false labor. Or at least it was still super early and I still had hours (or days) to go.

I did let Jonathan know they were speeding up a bit, but again, I in denial that anything was really happening. He decided to come home and pack up the car with our hospital stuff, just in case my midwife wanted me to stay after my 11am appointment. By the time we left for that, we were facing contractions every 3 minutes.

Before we were called back to see Col. Rensch (my midwife) I looked to Jonathan and said “If I haven’t progressed more than a centimeter from last week, I will cry.” And with trepidation, we walked back to be checked out.

The poor nurse who was attending to me. I’m pretty sure I freaked her out when she asked me if I was contracting at all and I replied “Yes, about every three minutes.” Things moved a lot quicker in that little room after that.

Col. Rensch came in and brought an OB in training with her. She turned to him and said “Now, this is where you might see tears, if she’s not progressed as far as she thinks she has.” Jonathan and I looked at each other and laughed (albeit a little nervously). It was good news though, I was 100% effaced and about 5 centimeters. I was so relieved that I had made such great progress with my contracting, I wasn’t even concerned about the uncomfort that came with her massaging my membranes to “possibly cut up to 4 hours off labor.” And the fact that she wanted this new guy to check my dilation to see what it felt like, didn’t bother me in the least. I was half way there.

By this point, I was so distracted by the fact that I was progressing so well (oh, and the contractions every 3 minutes) that when Col. Rensch said we were going to have this baby soon and to call her when we were on our way in, I didn’t even realize she meant THAT NIGHT until Jonathan asked. I guess I should have realized that when she warned the trainee OB not to break my water 10 times. She told us we were more than ready to go upstairs to L&D or we could go home and labor there for a while. She knew I wanted a natural birth and that I was hypnobirthing, so staying home for as long as possible was always part of the plan.

We decided to go home so I could take a warm bath for those final few hours while Jonathan packed up the rest of our stuff and made cookies for the nurses. That was the plan. We got home around noon, I sent out a few emails for work, and Jonathan put a chicken in the oven for lunch. And that is when the contractions started coming fast. And hard.

I never got in my bath. It took me too long to get upstairs (through contractions) and get a bathing suit top on. By the time I was halfway undressed for the bath, I was in a lot of pain and starting to feel a little “pushy.” Luckily, our amazing doula and friend Angie had ignored Jonathan when he said it’d be an hour or two before we went to the hospital and came to check on us then. She found me laboring at the top of the stairs, in too much pain to get in the tub or down the stairs. That’s when she told Jonathan it was hospital time as she worked her relaxing fingers on my back.

I really have no idea how I got down those stairs. With the help of Angie (while Jonathan was throwing last minute things in the car – bras, shoes, camera, water bottles, no cookies for the nurses for there was no time) I was able to get down the stairs in between contractions and get shoes on my feet. Next thing I knew, we were in the car on the way to the hospital.

Contractions were coming fast and I was having very short relief in between, timing them was out the window, and I was feeling pushy as we drove the five minutes to the hospital. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to walk all the way to labor and delivery, Jonathan pulled into the pick up/drop off, no parking zone and bolted into the lobby to grab a wheelchair. He grabbed me, my purse, and a towel and took off. Panicking a little that someone would steal our car (which had the engine running and the door wide open) I had enough energy left to yell “The car!”

As we wheeled frantically by an O-5 in the Navy (pretty high up for those of you not in the know) Jon stopped and said “Sir, are you busy?” Then proceeded to ask him to park our car, and drop off the keys to the front desk. I later learned he had not only done that, but brought our bags up to L&D. We were the talk of the unit after that valet service.

The rest of my labor passed in a very painful blur. I was wheeled up to the third floor, into my room, which was already set up and ready to go, thanks to my wonderful nurse (and neighbor) Katy, and was checked by Col. Rensch. At 7 centimeters, I still had some time to go, but I was beyond comforting. I moved around from leaning over the bed, to laboring on the toilet, to kneeling on the bed, to standing next to the bed. At one point, I was unbelievably uncomfortable while kneeling on the bed, so I got off just in time for my water to burst all over the floor, shoes, my own bare feet, and who knows what else.

Throughout this time, Harry’s heart rate was being monitored when I was near enough to the monitor, but that was it. No IV. No contraction monitoring. No meds. And finally, I looked at Katy and said “I feel like I need to go to the bathroom. I have to push.” I love her for simply replying “Do what you need to do.”

Col. Rensch came back as Katy was checking my progress and she encouraged me to labor on the toilet again – which worked wonders. Shortly thereafter, she came into the bathroom and told me I had to stand up, because I could not deliver this baby into the toilet. I remember asking if I was that close and hearing yes. That’s all I needed. I stood up, she pulled a stool up behind me and I pushed. I had no idea how long I was pushing before she said “I see a bunch of black hair!” And I was done. As soon as she said she saw hair, I shakily cried “He has hair?!” and pushed him out into this world. I needed to see that hair.

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The feeling of seeing Harry for the very first time, all wrinkly and messy, with a mouth open wide in a squawk, was indescribable. The best feeling ever (and not just because I was done pushing him out). He was absolutely beautiful – and still is – and my heart exploded with love. I don’t remember much of anything else aside from his face for the next hour. We fed, he looked at me, and I fell in love harder than I ever thought possible. He is perfect.

One thing I know is that this birth would have been exponentially harder if I didn’t have the best birthing partner in the world. Jonathan knew exactly what I needed. He knew when to distract me by counting. He knew to remind me that my thumb didn’t hurt. He knew when to just look into my eyes and be supportive. He knew to rub my back, hold my hips, and squeeze my hand. He just knew me. And having his face to focus on, especially when I though I just couldn’t do it anymore, was what got me through the worst of it.

I found out later the timing of our birth. We got to the hospital right around 1:25pm, I had him at 2:38pm. I still have no clue how long I pushed, but Jon guesses 15 minutes. No medication, no drugs, just how I had wanted it. But not necessarily because it was on my birth plan, but because there was no time. It was fast. It was intense. But now, I have the most beautiful son, with the most amazing black hair.

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Images of the three of us courtesy of Angela Iverson.

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40 Weeks

40 weeks

How far along: 40 Weeks. Oh, and I had a baby last week.

How big is baby: Actual. He was 7 pounds 4 ounces and 20.8 inches long when he was born. And with a ridiculous amount of hair. Which I love.

Total weight gain: Total weight gain was about 25lbs. I was down a few pounds on my delivery day, but we’ll say total weight gain was 25.

Maternity Clothes: Just ordered another nursing camisole.

Sleep: We’re getting about 3.5 hour spurts at night. Sometimes a little less. So far though, I can’t complain. Such a good little sleeper.

Best moment of the week: Tuesday at 1438 (The birth of my son was pretty awesome).

Food Cravings: Does water count? I down it like it’s going out of style every time he feeds.

Food Aversions: Nada.

Symptoms: Feeling pretty good. A little sore, a little emotional, but overall I feel so much better than I was expecting.

Movement: So much! And so much snuggling.

What I’m looking forward to: Being a mother to this sweet, sweet little boy. I love him to death.

What I miss: Nothing.

xoxo, Mallory

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Better Left Unsaid

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What is it about being pregnant that is so similar to being a magnet for word vomit? People are so very open (and often, so very rude) because I’ve got a little one growing inside me. Even people who I know (ahem, men) have never had a little one growing inside of them. It’s like seeing the bump makes people forget their manners. So in case any of you run into a pregnant woman anytime soon (believe it or not, they do let us out in public like any normal person, so you’re bound to run into us at some point or another) please, please do not say:

“You’re getting so big!” or “Any day now, huh?” or “You look ready to pop!” or any variation. Yes, I realize my stomach is the size of a watermelon. I realize this baby is getting bigger by the minute. But I don’t need to be reminded that I’m ready to pop (or worse, that I still have 10 weeks to go). I am dealing with my weight gain, something not easy for women to deal with – even if it is for a wonderful reason – on my own. And to some of these people, I really want to retort snottily “Yes, I am getting so big. This baby is 7+ lbs. What is your excuse?”

“Oh, just wait.” This one might be my biggest peeve. I’m uncomfortable. I have to pee. I’m hot and I’ve got a baby bouncing happily on the beanbag chair that is my bladder. Please don’t tell me to wait. That it’s just going to get worse. I’m not saying I’m in the worst pain of my life. I’m not even saying I’m in worse pain that you were in. I’m just saying, there is a lot of pressure happening and I need to get to a bathroom or I will pee my pants… and aim for your shoe.

“My labor was 128 hours with 17 hours of pushing and all this nasty, terrible, horrific stuff happened.” I’m about to have a baby. I realize, this is my first child so I’m not really privy on what exactly labor is going to be like, but I do know this. Every labor is different. And you’re just being rude telling me how terrible yours was. I’m not sure if this is a “Look how tough I was” thing or a “I’m going to one up you” thing or what. But it is rude. And it can be scary. So shh.

“Be careful working out!” Can I take a moment to say, “Um, duh.” I’ve been a runner since fourth grade. I’ve been in the gym hitting weights for 6+ years. I don’t think there is ever a workout, pregnant or not, that I have NOT been careful. I know my body. I’ve talked to my doctor. We’re fine in that gym. And while you’re at it, please refrain from telling me “Now, don’t let your water break while you’re here!” I’ll do my best, sir.

“I wish I was as lucky as you – I gained 75 pounds when I was pregnant!” Not luck. Work. Running into my eighth month. Spinning to the bitter end. Getting into the gym five mornings a week. And not giving into every single craving. That is how I kept my weight gain manageable. Not luck.

“You still have time to get fat.” Thanks.

“May I touch your stomach?” First of all, thank you for asking instead of just touching (most people don’t bother with the question). I appreciate it. But really, you’re a stranger. I know you think you’re touching a baby, but really, you’re just touching my stomach. And if this baby were on the outside, would you come up to me and ask “May I touch your baby?” No. Personal space should still exist even when sharing your body with another human. If I want you to touch my stomach, I’ll tell you.

Now here is my disclaimer: Most of what people have said to me about my pregnancy has been very, very positive. I’m very grateful for all of you and your wonderfully supportive comments throughout this pregnancy. If you have said any of these things to me, it’s okay. I still love you and I promise my annoyance was probably very short-lived. I have heard all of these multiple, multiple times (mainly from strangers), so I don’t even remember who has said what to me. Just remember this next time you see a pregnant woman walking down the street (read:sarcasm… kind of).

xoxo, Mallory

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39 Weeks

39 weeks pregnant

Dress: Old Navy

How far along: 39 Weeks. One week from the “finish line.”

How big is baby: 7+ lbs. A mini-watermelon. Well that explains why I look like I’ve shoved a watermelon under my dress.

Total weight gain: +25lbs.

Maternity Clothes: Nothing maternity (though I need some nursing bras…) but that dress I’m wearing is new. Size XS non-maternity. I may or may not have bought it just because I was stoked to still fit in an extra small.

Sleep: Still good. I’ve been waking up to pee lots, and usually have some cramps or contractions when I come back to bed, but aside from an hour at 3:30 one night this week, no loss of sleep.

Best moment of the week: Downton Abbey Season 3 premiere!

Food Cravings: Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.

Food Aversions: Nothing.

Symptoms: Okay, this is the week of symptoms. Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more intense and more frequent. I’ve had a handful of real contractions every day, but they are so spread out and still two + minutes long, so not labor yet. Some cramping. Still losing mucus. I had a gnarly nosebleed yesterday morning, I mean seriously crazy. Lots of movement in the bowels (we’ll leave it there). And lots and lots of hormonal emotions. We are getting close to the end people.

Movement: Same as the last few weeks. Not as much, but when he moves, he moves. I think we’re both to the point where we’re a little frustrated with the lack of space in there.

What I’m looking forward to: Baby. I woke up yesterday thinking (for the first time this whole pregnancy) “I’m ready. Any time he wants to come from here on out, I’m ready.”

What I miss: Control over my emotions.

xoxo, Mallory

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