Mamahood Styled



10/25/2017

// these are a few of my favorite things //






I remember being pregnant with Oliver and constantly Googling (that's a verb, right?!) and Pinteresting (another verb?!) all the must-have essentials: from what to put in a diaper bag, to what to pack for the hospital bag, to what products I'd need! While I quickly found out everything is tailored and not a one-size-fits-all for each individual baby/mama/family, I truly enjoyed the posts! I remember posting about my must-haves shortly after Oliver was born and those were just the NoseFrida and the Windi! Back then, these were not well-known but since have become staples in most mama's diaper bags- you can see that post here!

Now with more experience, I want to share other products that I have tried and absolutely love. As I find more, I promise to post about those, too! Including any coupon codes I can share, because who doesn't love a coupon code!




The Owlet: 
Peace of mind while your newborn sleeps in priceless! If this device would have existed when Oliver was a newborn, you bet your booty, we would have purchased it! It is worth every dime! It is a heart rate and oxygen monitor that you put on your baby's foot and it has a wireless alarm you set on your nightstand. If it's lose or can't read their data, it alerts you with a lullaby. If your baby's levels go outside the norm, it alerts you with an alarm that will wake you immediately! We have all read the horror story nightmares parent's have gone through and I could not imagine living through something like that. Which is why this is number one on the list! 

Use this link to purchase: http://fbuy.me/gQySA and there is currently free shipping on it!!



The DockATot:
Babies love to be snug to sleep because it mimics life in the womb. The DockATot is a muti-functional unit where babies can rest, relax, play, and sleep! You can easily move it from room to room, from bassinet, crib to bed, and know that your baby is safe! It fits perfectly in Luna's Pottery Barn bassinet so I can easily move her from wherever she fell asleep in it, to it! I have the Deluxe+ which will last her throughout almost her first year, at which time I will upgrade to the Grand. Luna does not enjoy tummy time, but I use the rounded sides to help her out and she enjoys that! I love that I can have her in bed with me, too, if needed! We have been using it since her first day home and I contemplated taking it to the hospital with me, too! We do use it when we travel- no hotel cribs for us and she has been able to get her night's sleep perfectly well in it! We have the white one because I love the simplicity of it, but there are a ton of amazing covers (I have my eye on one right now) and even a toy arch, making it double as a play gym for your baby! 

You can use this link for $10 off your purchase: https://go.referralcandy.com/share/S42978C




The Ollie Swaddle:
There are so many swaddles out there and I wish I knew that there is so much more to using a swaddle than I did with Oliver. I used to wrap him up and he could get out easily; I quickly gave up and chalked it up to him hating it as he would grunt until he got out. But this time around, I've learned that it's what you do after the swaddle that matters ( yup, I took a sleep class this time around to learn)! The Ollie Swaddle is amazing, albeit a little intimidating in the beginning, since it reminded me of a little straight jacket, lol! It's amazing velcro make it so that the baby cannot get out of it but it has an easy tie at the bottom for diaper changes. I wasn't sure if it was making a difference in Luna's sleep so I stopped using it for a week. She went from sleeping almost through the night, to waking up repeatedly. I decided to give it a try again, and on one of my insomnia ridden nights, realized how many times Luna wakes throughout the night due to her heavy startle reflex. Yet with her Ollie, her arms stay snug, and she is able to fall right back to sleep! Amazing! 

Use this link for 10% off: https://go.referralcandy.com/share/CJVNGZH




Forte Elements Vitamins:
I can't even tell you how sick I was with Luna for over half of my pregnancy! I did A LOT of research on vitamins since after the journey to get pregnant was so hard, I wanted to make sure I was taking only the best of the best- and I was- until I found Forte Elements and realized there is something EVEN better out there! Clinically proven and research based, their prenatal vitamins gave me the boost I needed to regain some of my energy while pregnant! I wasn't sure if it was a placebo effect, but over the summer when we moved, I misplaced my box and went back to my regular high-end vitamins. Well, my fatigue came back with a bang- until a few days into taking Forte Elements and I felt like myself again! Now, in my fourth trimester postpartum, I've been taking their AM + PM Postnatal pills and am so grateful for them! Since I am exclusively breastfeeding Luna, it is SO important that not only I, but she also receives the best of the best! I truly believe they have helped us during this cold + flu season too!

Use code thishappymess at checkout at  for 10% off your order! www.forteelements.com



I have a must-have breastfeeding/pumping post coming up soon! Including what pump I think is the best, along with my favorite bottles, and accessories! 

















9/20/2017

Luna May Olive: A Birth Story

#lifeloveandIVF


I've wondered so many times how I would write this birth story since Luna joined us earthside, primarily because it is so extremely different from what I imagined, from what I prayed for. Although it went nothing like I wanted, I went in knowing that the goal was a healthy baby, and a healthy mami. Since we got both out of it, I'd like to start off by saying, it was a success!! My miracle IVF baby girl is here and we couldn't be happier!!!
39 weeks, 6 days pregnant 
With the journey to this baby being such a treacherous one, my prayers for delivery were for a healthy and speedy one (especially since Oliver's delivery was amazing) and I kept hearing that second babies come even faster than the first ones! 
Prior to that, I had gone into preterm labor at almost 32 weeks and was put on restrictive bedrest for almost 5 weeks. He arrived two days before his EDD, to everyone's surprise. I went into the hospital two days before my due date, at 9am and had him at 4:51pm. 

With Luna, I started getting contractions at 20 weeks- no one thought I would make it even close to her EDD- especially since she always measured 4-7 days ahead. As the weeks passed, my contractions became stronger. At 37 weeks, we started checking for progress and each week was shocking, as I had not dilated from 1 cm. I spent my due date with Oliver and our friends at a water park, and later that day I lost part of my plug. I had an appointment scheduled from the next day and was so excited and sure that I had made major progress. I was shocked to hear that I was maaaaybe at a 1.5 and 50% effaced. Then I was checked for water leakage, and just like with Oliver, I tested positive for nitrocin and ferning (meaning, my water had started leaking). Since we were unsure of how long it had been leaking, and I was NOT in labor, I was sent to the hospital to induce labor. 
Now induction was far from anything I wanted. My labor with Oliver was unmedicated and although I was open to the idea of medicine if we needed it, I did not want to start off labor before my body was ready to. But I also had to do what was best for our baby- and the risk of infection was high so we decided to start on Cytotec to soften up my cervix and allow me to dilate. We all imagined that within a dose or two, I would go into labor on my own and deliver that night- after all, there was a full moon on the forecast and it couldn't be more perfect than that (Luna means Moon in Spanish)!

The excitement in the room was incredible! Geoff and I were thrilled. Oliver had been telling us that his baby sister was going to wait to come until he started Pre-K. That morning, at 40w1d, I was able to take him to his first day of Pre-K! As I was leaving he held my belly, and said "Okay, Luna (which really sounds like Wuna), you can come now!" Calling our parents later and sharing the news with Oliver that we were on our way to the hospital to have his baby, hearing his excitement, oh man, it was palpable! We let all of our loved ones know and prepared for it all. 

Day Uno: 
We arrived at the hospital and we immediately knew we were in the absolute best hands: from our nurse to the Director of Labor & Delivery, everyone was a familiar and happy face with our best interest in mind. I got into my own gown to labor in, got my essential oils plugged in, own pillowcase, music going, *yes, ladies, I'm super extra*,  got hooked up to wireless monitors so I could labor freely, took my first induction dose, had the rest of my water broken (so now I could REALLY feel each contraction) and we all were so sure that by the evening, our baby girl would be in our arms! We even recorded a "Push it" video that's on my IG! We had Oliver come visit that evening (which ended up being a mistake in hindsight)! He did great the entire time there, but when it was time for him to leave, he became very emotional, not understanding why I was in the hospital if the baby wasn't here yet, and why we needed to be separated. Thank God for his wonderful grandparents who were there for not only him, but a huge support system for Geoff and I. 
I had the max amount of Cytotec doses over a 24 hour period- that's 6 of them every 4 hours- with each dosage making us believe it would be THE one! We spent all evening and night, making our rounds, walking, squatting, etc in the hospital hallways, making friends with the staff, knowing it would be any hour now...By the next morning there had been zero progress even though I was still having hard contractions and doing every thing we could think of to get labor going. Talk about feeling defeated. Everyone was so sure she would have arrived by the previous evening. Seeing the nurses finish their 7am-7pm shifts was even more defeating. We brought in donuts for the staff because bless each nurses heart, they were each SO amazing and critical to our story. We truly and wholeheartedly had the best support system through our nurses, midwives (my beloved friend/midwife was out of town for the summer so her BFF became my midwife and it was so nice to have both of their support), our friends/family that constantly checked in, and our social media support- so many people we have connected with! 

Day Dos:
By the evening of Day 2, my contractions were harder and closer, but still not consistent enough for progress and with having had my water fully broken for over 24 hours, the risk of infection was high. I had to decide what to do since they couldn't give me more Cytotec. After much consultation, we moved on to Pitocin- which I truly and honestly feared. I hadn't heard of many mamas being able to make it without an epidural after Pitocin was administered and my contractions were already really painful so I couldn't imagine them getting worse on medicine before I peaked. But my options were limited and I truly felt that after one dose of Pitocin, it would work! So I started it around 5pm of Day 2 with internal monitors so I could still labor in positions I wanted. The way Pitocin works is that they give you 2 units with an IV every 20 minutes and it goes up to 20 units, with contractions getting harder and stronger each increase. It can be turned off at any time, which is great because I knew my body would take over. Weeeeeell, by 1am, I was up to a level 12 without pain meds, and zero sleep. My mind was totally focused, but my body had started to shut down. I hadn't sleep more than 1.5 hours the night before, and had hardly eaten anything because we all thought the baby was coming! But shout out to the oatmeal I had for breakfast, the Pitaya bowl I had for lunch and the Quest protein bar I had for dinner for powering me through)!  Meanwhile, each contraction radiated every inch of my body but I was so focused, I could melt into each one knowing they would pass quickly. They were on top of each other, hardly giving me any rest in between, each fighting to be off the charts. Unfortunately, my body was done for and would violently shake during each contraction, wanting to fight them. I didn't care because I knew with the amount of pain I was in my body would have definitely made progress. At this point, I was excited and we all decided it was a good time to be checked. 

To all of our disbelief, I had only dilated to a 3ish!!! The shock of this lack of progress made me feel extremely defeated- our entire team couldn't believe it. We all met several times trying to figure out the best course of action. Everyone wanted me to be healthy and have energy to push, but the only way to do so was with an Epidural, which I did NOT want. 

Now, I know, trust me, I know it was difficult for anyone to understand why I didn't want medicine. & although I don't have to explain my reasoning, I've always been so raw and open that I want to express this part of my journey...
My baby took two years of back-to-back IVF cycles. The amount of medicine it took to conceive her truly blows my mind. Me, the girl who won't even take an aspirin for the debilitating migraines I get that last days. Not because I get an award; no one knows...it doesn't make me a hero...not at all, there's no badge of honor or trophy I would get by going unmedicated. But knowing this is my last pregnancy meant everything to me. I wanted to birth my baby on my own- finally without the assistance of medicine- although I was grateful for medicine to provide me with my baby! But for this, I wanted to be led by my faith in my God, and my body. I also had gone through an unmedicated labor with Oliver and although it was the hardest physical experience of my life, it was the most amazing, to FEEL him being brought to our world, and I didn't want to be numb to her being delivered. This was my very last chance to do this on MY own, and I was really excited and ready to do so.
birthing in all its glory

BUT at this point, I wanted my baby, and if they needed to up Pitocin and give my body rest, then so be it. I reminded myself that my only real plan was a healthy baby and mami! Plus 90% of my girlfriends all swore by the beauty of epidurals and a lot of them said they could still feel the pressure so I felt secure in my decision to get one (once we did decide). And I could see the relief on everyone's faces once we decided, too! But I'm still so grateful everyone let me figure it out on my own. So I was blessed with the #1 anesthesiologist who was the sweetest woman and took her time in making me feel comfortable. My midwife came in and held me and prayed over me and I still felt that damn needle go in and even flinched- of course, my luck, lol! But as soon as it went in, omg, after two days of pain, it felt like a dream! AND I could still move my legs and felt pressure! YES! Why didn't we do this sooner! It felt amazing!!! Until I heard commotion and rushed voices, and nurses start rushing in, because Luna's little heartrate had crashed down (a side effect of epidurals). I was turned this way and that, my belly shaken and shifted to try to get her in a better position and it felt like nothing was working. But luckily, she got settled and all was well, considering. 

Day 3
SO, I am finally able to get well-deserved rest, with the exception of a side-to-side flip every 20 minutes throughout the entire night and the constant drip of fluids, buuuut I got some rest! A few hours later, its Day 3 around 5:30am, the Pitocin was cranked up to its max dosage of 20, my body has the shakes, and we decided it was time to check again. This was it, I thought to myself! The somewhat still full moon was descending in the horizon as the sun was rising....To my dismay, I had dilated to a 5. Let's recap, started at a 1....after a whole day of Cytotec and Pitocin, I was at a 3, and now with full dosage of Pitocin and an epidural, I was only at a 5. WTF?! This time the whole team was beyond confused and defeated. They started wondering if she was big (she was tiny), or hitting the wrong part of my cervix, flipped, etc. My midwife was called in and she looked so disappointed. We knew a C-Section would be next. So the Pitocin was shut off and everything for one started. By this time it was 7am and my entire body from the mid-waist down was beyond numb. I couldn't feel A THING; I couldn't move my legs- they were SO heavy and it took ALL my strength to get into positions. My epidural had gone from great because I could still feel pressure, to horrifying (for me) because I felt completely numb and heavy and useless. But I didn't care, I just wanted my baby. So I woke up Geoff and told him we had shut the meds off and were prepping for a C-section. My midwife goes to check me one more time before putting in the orders, and would you believe it, I had actually progressed to a 7 all on my own!!!! Everyone got so pumped and excited and we canceled C-section plans! I had Geoff call his parents immediately because I felt like it was going to happen really fast from there! by 8:15am, I was at a 9!!! She was coming!!! It was time to push any second now, and we got everything ready for it! Yay!

The Birth
So I start pushing and....nothing....I can't feel a single thing, so I have no idea what I'm doing, but my contractions are being erratic again and there's no pattern to them. We try a few more times, and nothing. What is going on?! Luna's heartbeat goes from 160ish to the 40-50 range. My heart sinks. After all of this, there is no way we are losing our baby. NO WAY. The slow beeps make my own heart stop. My midwife shakes her head, I see the nurses look at each other with disappointment in their eyes...she sits down, shoulders slumped, and tells me we need an emergency C-section and pages the OB (who luckily happens to be in the hospital this morning). I don't even care. I just want my baby to be healthy and earth side. Within minutes, he comes in and gets me to start pushing. Again, my contractions are being sporadic and not consistent, they are monitoring Luna's heartbeat, trying to give it one last shot before a C-section. The room is full of so many nurses, my midwife/friend is on FaceTime, our parents are behind the curtain (because the room was too full to fit anyone else), there is talk of re-starting the Pitocin, the OB says no, he starts massaging, and telling me when and how to push, her head surfaces, they wheel in a mirror- I mean, a full length, wooden framed mirror on wheels, where I can see EVERYTHING, more than I EVER want to see again (why did I think it was going to be a small, compact mirror to just witness her birth, haha). The OB, grabs a swaddle blanket, twists it in his hands, and tells me we are going to play tug-of-war, when he tells me to. Each push/tug is a few minutes in between but we are making progress, everyone is so encouraging, I am pushing with all my might, my incredible husband being my number one supporter, telling me everything I need to hear in this moment, until finally, they all happily exclaim she is on her way out, her head is out and then her shoulders...and then the OB steps back, the midwife steps in, and it's time for me to reach down and pull her out. I grab under her slippery shoulders and pull up, greeted by a full head of hair and a tiny little human being, who isn't crying much. It all feels so surreal, the room is so dark, I pull her to my chest, I start to cry and cannot believe it. Then realize she's not crying much, so I ask, and she starts to cry a bit. My head starts pounding, and I can't see very straight, but I know she is here. I don't seem to recognize her, like I thought I would. I lift her to admire her, count her fingers and toes, call her by her name, and ask Geoff "Did they put in the right embryo?!" Haha, the long labor, the pain, the numbness, the beauty of her life, all come crashing down on me and I'm not sure what to think. We get the next couple of hours to just BE with her. Her teeny, tiny little body curled up against mine. My mind and heart in disbelief. I'll never know why it was so hard, not just our struggle leading up to conceiving her, but our actual labor and delivery...but she's here...and we couldn't be more blessed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All the heartache, the pain, the loss, the angel babies, the time Oliver begged me to not give up while he cried on the kitchen floor...all for this moment... here she is, earth side, finally, completing our family. Just. like. that. 


Luna May Olive- you are a true testament of love, patience, and fear. You're a miracle in our lives and we couldn't love you more than we do. You truly complete our family, baby girl. Thank you for being here, we adore you more than words could ever convey. "and if you are to love, love as the moon does; she does not steal the night- she only unveils the beauty of the dark."








P.S. If you're interested in Oliver's birth story, go to web version, then the search bar on the middle right hand side, and search "birth story." That one is divided into two parts!

P.S.S. After writing this birth story, I spent some time reading the blog posts I wrote about our IVF journey. I didn't document it all, I never really told anyone I was documenting at all, but my heart aches and is equally full by our journey as I look over at Luna May Olive sleeping in her bassinet. God and Science, how i love thee.

8/02/2017

// regarding miracles, faith, and life //

i realized i haven't blogged in such a long time period. i suppose my instagram has become like my (sometimes) daily blog. i used to blog so often! i started off with a recipe blog years ago. i would even have my girlfriends featured with their great recipes. then it became all about DIY crafts and style/fashion! eventually, that became my weekly updates with oliver's pregnancy. then monthly, to his updates...and eventually, i think i chronicled his first couple of birthday parties, and then just didn't really have it in me anymore. looking back, it was while we started IVF that blogging took a backseat. IVF truly changed me. it shook me to the core and still weighs heavily on me. it's weird because it almost culminated the two times cancer consumed our lives. it was a heavy reminder of how much cancer affected and effected our daily, everyday lives.

and here we are, entering another chapter of our lives. a much different chapter. i am sitting up in bed, feeling contractions and little kicks i wasn't sure i would ever feel again. it took us two years, six round of IVF, four angel babies, and so much faith to get here...
bruises on bruises from injections

i did blog during my IVF- and most of it is heartache and grief over our miscarriages. i just re-read the very last one i have in my drafts- back in december 2016, when i found out the gender of our lost angel baby- a girl...

documenting grief is hard, but it helped me remember how badly i wanted it all to work out
Embryo # 5; our angel baby girl
i remember how the grief consumed me. swallowed me whole. i remember oliver being my saving grace. i had decided i was absolutely done with IVF, with the pain, the shots, the thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. over the heartache. and one night, my then three year old son walked in slowly into the kitchen at dinner time. his usual happy face was gloomy and sad- a rare appearance on his precious face. the moment i asked him what was wrong, his little face crumbled into sadness and his bottom lip stuck out and trembled and he threw himself into my arms. he wailed with such sadness, as i sank into that kitchen floor and held my baby rocking him, asking him to tell me what was wrong. he started crying out "pwease don't give up mami....i want my baby....please twy again...." i will never, ever, ever forget that feeling; it didn't enlighten me, it didn't make me proud. it made me hurt like i had failed him. did i expose him to too much? was i too honest with him? should i have been hiding all of this from him? i rocked him back and forth, hearing my own cries escape my heart-wrenched chest, and couldn't even bring the words out. i wanted to explain that i couldn't; that i wasn't strong enough, that i just couldn't. but i had never heard him cry in emotional pain and i wanted to console him. so there, i promised him i would try just one more time. but i told him i couldn't promise him that it would work. by this time, geoff heard us and ran downstairs and picked him up from my arms. and i tried to pick myself up to comfort him, but i ended up on my hands and knees, screaming and crying in absolute silence as hot tears ran down my face.

weeks later, i sat with oliver playing outside of our house. he wanted an after-school snack and we sat together as he took small bites. he casually started talking about how the baby that had been in my tummy was a girl but God needed her...He did this sometimes, he nonchalantly explained; sometimes God needs the babies to go back to Heaven but then sends them back- and God was going to send his baby back to us...just like He sent oliver to us...and then he casually went back to eating his snack and playing. and i was left dumbfounded and speechless, unable to process what i had just heard...
so i didn't throw in the towel. our doctor asked us to not give up. his embryologist called me and told me the same. and so we decided one more time. one LAST time.
                                                          


and here i am....sitting at 39 weeks, 3 days pregnant, with a baby girl inside of me, gracing me with the opportunity to become a mami again. to give my beloved son a forever friend, confidant, partner in crime...the only other soul who would know what it is like to have us as parents...

looking back, i wish i would have done weekly updates of baby bump and pregnancy like i did with oliver- because more than likely this is our last pregnancy ever. i have loved going back to comparing oliver's pregnancy with this one...but i suppose all the ptsd from IVF left me a little guarded, a little scarred, a lot scared...

i still am. i sit here watching and feeling her move inside of me, and i am terrified of what's to come. i am praying for her safe and healthy arrival. i am scared of going through the newborn stage, the breastfeeding, all of it. but i focused on keeping my faith; in God and in myself; in my tribe who lifts and supports us...in this precious, miracle baby that i cannot wait to hold in my arms, yet want to protect in my belly.

baby girl,

we have wished upon many, many moons for you to join us earthside. i have imagined what it will feel like to hold you in my arms, to play with your little hands and feet, and caress your little face. of your brother, who wished you here, meeting you and holding you. of you melting your daddy into making our family complete.
Our little embryo that could
i love you so much,

mami <3






















1/26/2016

// #oliverawr #odcmturnsthree //

I have to be honest, I absolutely love a themed party! I try to theme out pretty much everything, from dinners, to girls' nights in, to any party we ever throw. My husband is probably glad we have a son now because before, every single holiday meant home decor + all of his meals matched the theme. haha! During year two of his precious life, Oliver has been obsessed with dinosaurs, watching shows, reading books, visiting the Peewie Herman Dinos in the desert multiple times, learning facts about them, etc. There is something to precious about a two year old explaining the different between carnivores and herbivores! He had been saying he wanted a dino party for months and with everything we have been recently going through, his birthday crept up on us and before I knew it, it was one week away and I had done zero for him. We decided at the last minute to throw him a get together. I tried to keep things simple (especially since after last year's
CAMP OLIVER #ODCMTURNSTHREE
I went massively all out) but my last minuteness didn't help! Ultimately, Oliver LOVED everything and is still talking about all the details, which usually go unnoticed. Our friends were so complimentary and the littles seemed to really enjoy themselves. There's something awesome about receiving a text later that night with parents thanking YOU for tiring out their happy babes. 

The night before Oliver's birthday, Geoff's phone finished breaking and we ran to Verizon to upgrade 15 minutes before they closed! So the next morning (after I had stayed up until 5am to finish major crafts), I had a new phone with zero contacts. My amazing friends ended up taking over 500 pictures for us- I am so grateful! These are just a snapshot of Oliver's Bash! 












These dino necklaces were a hit, especially with the adults! Wish I would have kept one!








We DIYed fossils- which was so fun!
























Nino Jake and O


Titi Isa and O


Our amazing midwife/friend Susie teaching the babes how to make volcanoes

These cuties! Missing a few! 


aftermath! Make a Volcano, Tattoo, and Coloring Stations

nana and O






Special thanks to everyone who made this possible! From Momma, Poppa and Titi Sarah who came over to help us craft and came early to help us run around, to Titi Yuky who let us borrow stuff the night before, to Mama and Tito and Destiny who drove through the night to arrive at 5am that morning, to Titi Mayra who flew in fron Austin the one weekend she would be with her husband and woke up early to help me set-up, to Titi 'ayna and Titi Isa and Nino Jake who started driving at 5am to make it on time and took all these pictures and played with Oliver until the end of the night all while putting in effort to get to know my Mom, to Titi Becca and Tio Steven who brought the littles in between busy soccer games to celebrate O, to Titi Anita and Tio Irving who drove from Phoenix, to Linda and Elle who put in so much effort to participate and be present, to the Cheatwoods, Cris and Andrew, the Rhoads, the Buchanans, the Guzmans, the Lachicks, Nana, Andrew, Ale, Karston...and everyone else who really wanted to come but couldn't make it!!! this day wouldn't have been what it was without you!!! We love you each so much and are so grateful that you love Oliver!!!
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