Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pregnancy Weight Gain/Loss

Before I got pregnant, I had weighed 110 lbs. for years. I've always had a difficult time gaining weight, and 110 lbs. was my body's natural weight. I have always had a huge appetite, and my friends would refer to me as the 'bottomless pit'. During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I craved fruits, salads, and soups. I wanted nothing to do with meat, which was unusual. By month 5, I was up 15 lbs. I never had any specific cravings, except for peaches and nectarines, which I indulged in, daily. During my third trimester, I started craving sweets, which I was never into, pre-pregnancy. I didn't restrict myself, but I naturally like to eat on the healthy side, and by the time I gave birth, I weighed 140 lbs. Once I gave birth, I stayed in the hospital for 4 days, and upon returning home, I was pretty anxious to see how much weight I had lost. I was surprised to have just lost 10 lbs., but it actually made sense, because I had been pumped with fluids for 48 hours. As soon as my milk came in, the weight just melted away, and amazingly enough, my body has snapped back. Breastfeeding actually helps the uterus shrink back to it's original size as well. Since I had a cesarean delivery, I was not allowed to work out or lift anything heavier than my baby for 8 weeks. I will definitely be joining a gym as soon as I can start working out! I am also extremely fortunate to not have stretch marks or have lose, hanging skin, and I really believe that is just up to genetics. During my pregnancy, I applied organic coconut oil and Motherhood Maternity had sent me Mama Bee belly butter, which I loved.
I haven't applied anything since Zane was born though. As soon as I came home from the hospital, I began wearing a girdle, which I highly recommend for every mother's recovery. This was crucial to my recovery, helping my organs go back to their original locations, as well as lessening the pain every time I laughed, coughed or sneezed. I have not yet lost the full 30 lbs that I had gained, but I actually prefer my body now to my pre-pregnancy body. I feel like I finally have curves in all the right places now, and am in no rush to lose any more wait. Ladies, it takes 9 months to grow a baby and put on the weight, and it will take time to recover as well, so take your time!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The obstacle course, aka Breastfeeding

People may be surprised to hear that I was not at all scared of going into labor, however, I was petrified of the pain from breastfeeding. I was equally excited to share the breastfeeding experience with my baby; to provide him with the best nourishment, while bonding with him. When Zane was placed in my arms for the first time, I breastfed him right away. I believe it was the adrenaline from giving birth and finally having my baby in my arms that initially numbed me to the pain of breastfeeding. Zane never had a problem latching; he was a natural. In fact, he had such a strong suck that my poor nipples felt like they were getting destroyed every time he fed. Over the next few days, the pain grew stronger, and every time Zane would wake up for a feeding, I'd get major anxiety just from anticipation of the pain that ensued. I told my nurse, and she gave me nipple shields to use while my cracked & battered nipples healed. The shield was so helpful, maybe even a little too helpful, because I found myself completely dependent on the shield. I did some research online, and read that the nipple shield is meant for short term use, and that prolonged use can hinder the transition from the shield to the bare breast. After a week of nursing with the shield, I decided to brave it and stop using the shield. It has paid off, and I have not gone back to the shield.

My battle with Mastitis
One day, I noticed that I had a headache for the first time this year (I had not had one single headache throughout my entire pregnancy) so I took a long nap while Zane slept. Upon waking up, not only was my headache still in full effect, but my body felt incredibly weak and achy. Then, I felt cold, and then hot and sweaty, and I knew something was wrong. My right breast was red, and felt hard and swollen, and my sister told me my symptoms sounded like mastitis. I went to the hospital right away, and sure enough, it was confirmed that I had mastitis; an AWFUL breast infection, due to engorgement or plugged milk ducts. Since my doctor knew I was breastfeeding, she prescribed an antibiotic that is safe if passed down to Zane. The nurse gave me contradicting information, recommending that I supplement with formula for the 10 days of my medication. This concerned me, so I did my research, and also reached out to my local breastfeeding support group I'm a part of, and confirmed that it is safe to breastfeed on the antibiotics. Had I supplemented with formula for 10 days, I would risk severely disrupting the breastfeeding relationship I had already built with Zane, making it that much harder on us. It was suggested that I take a probiotic during my medication, to prevent Zane from the possibility of getting thrush; a yeast infection in the mouth. Since antibiotics kill the infected bacteria, it can also kill good bacteria, and thus, causing the overgrowth of candida (yeast), so a probiotic would counteract that, by promoting the growth of good bacteria. I started taking Florastor tablets, in addition to eating yogurt everyday. I took ibuprofen to manage the pain, and took steaming hot showers and massaged the affected area. Just before feedings, I applied hot compresses (Booby Tubes from Earth Mama Angel Baby are awesome!) and lanolin, keeping the nipple moist, so it can heal. I continued to nurse on both breasts like normal, and I noticed an improvement. It was recommended by many women who have had mastitis, to start taking lecithin granules daily, to prevent plugged milk ducts and mastitis. I just ordered non-GMO sunflower lecithin through amazon.com and cannot wait to start taking that.
Zane and I have come a long way on our breastfeeding journey, and I'm so thankful to be producing an abundance of milk for my little one who loves to eat around the clock.
Breastfeeding can be full of challenges, but the rewards outweigh the setbacks. I'm glad I never gave up. Breastfeeding has become such a special part of our relationship, not just physically, but emotionally as well. I can't see myself not breastfeeding him, and I would never want it any other way. I encourage anyone experiencing challenges with breastfeeding to educate themselves and to reach out to a lactation consultant or join a support group (La Leche League).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Zane's Birth Story

(Warning: it's very long, just like my labor!)

The week of my due date had arrived, and I had woken up Monday morning, a bit alarmed. When I looked in the mirror, it appeared that my 'dropped' belly had risen. It looked as though my baby was trying to climb back up and never leave. Over the next few days, my baby bump remained high, and with zero labor signs, I prepared myself for a late term birth. Then, Thursday rolled around, and I woke up to my very first contractions, starting at 7:45am. These contractions were about every 10 minutes, lasting for 30 seconds. My mother and I were taking care of my six month old niece, and went about our day. We took an afternoon walk to get lunch and browse a few shops, and it became increasingly difficult to walk through my contractions. When we got home, I lost my mucous plug (bloody show), and I got so excited that my labor was going to take place that day, so I took a shower to get ready to go to the hospital. I wanted to wait as long as possible before heading to the hospital, because I always heard stories of pregnant women being sent home because they were not really in labor. It was 5:15 pm, I wrapped myself in my towel and laid down for five minutes to work through my contractions, when suddenly, it felt as though a huge water balloon popped inside of me. My water had broken, and it gushed! I was so shocked I jumped up, grabbed my things, and my parents and I were off to the hospital within ten minutes. My water kept gushing on the car ride, and through check in at the hospital, as if I had a bunch of mini water balloons popping, one after another. I guess that's why I looked like I was carrying twins, haha. Apparently, everyone was giving birth that day, and the delivery rooms were all filled, so I was placed in another room. I was hooked up to an IV with antibiotics, since I was Strep B positive, and the antibiotics kept the baby from catching it.
Quickly after, my baby's father, Bobby arrived, and I had never seen him more terrified when he saw the pain I was in. I had entertained the idea of foregoing any pain medications, because my mother had 5 all natural labors, and my sister had 4 all natural labors. Once my water had broken, my contractions had intensified, and I was begging for the epidural. That didn't arrive until 10pm, when I was moved into a delivery room, and after an hour and a half of no relief, the anesthesiologist added some more and told me I would now be able to sleep for a few hours until I was fully dilated.  I was dilated to 4 centimeters and fully effaced at this point, and tried to doze off. As hard as I tried, I still could not sleep through my contractions, and the most painful ones caused me to vomit. Bobby was so helpful and helped me puke into a bucket and cleaned up after me each time, which was a lot! He and my mother stayed up all night, watching after me.
By 8am (my due date!), I was fully dilated and started pushing, and pushing, and pushing. I had the most intense back labor, most likely due to the position of my baby who was sunnyside up. This was by far, the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, and the contractions came one after another with just seconds in between. My nurse, Jackie was awesome! She had me get into every position imaginable, even playing tug of war. The pain was unreal, and the epidural offered no relief. In fact, the only thing the epidural managed to do was to completely numb my left leg. My mom rubbed lotion on my legs and she and Bobby took turns holding my legs up through each push. After hours of constant pushing, I felt delirious, struggling to keep my eyes open. Then, my younger sister walked into the room and I thought I was dreaming. I was so surprised and happy she was there, and was even more amazed at how well she kept her cool through the gory scene of my labor. She and my mother were such great coaches, both holding my legs up and encouraging me with their words.
After 8 hours of straight pushing, my doctor determined that my baby's head could not get past my pelvis, and the only safe way to deliver him was via c-section. This revelation made me feel incredibly emotional. I had always envisioned  getting to experience a natural vaginal birth, and any other way made me feel like a failure. I felt defeated, but everyone kept assuring me that I did all I could. I mean, I pushed my brains out and gave it my all with every single push. I accepted that this is the path in which I was meant to meet my son, and smiled through the tears as I was wheeled into the OR. Bobby joined me and comforted me through the surgery. My doctor was amazing throughout the entire process. He lowered the drape so that I could see my baby as soon as he was out of me. As soon as surgery began, my doctor saw that my baby's head was stuck in my pelvis, so my nurse actually had to go from underneath and push his head out.  Within seconds, my doctor raised my crying son in the air, and I got my first look at my precious baby. My OR nurse was a huge advocate of skin to skin (thank God) and as soon as he was born, she placed him in my arms and I was able to breastfeed him, which was amazing! Holding Zane in my arms felt surreal; I was overwhelmed with love and felt so blessed to be able to have this baby in my life, almost unworthy of such a blessing.  I'm so thankful that my doctor was able to deliver my baby, that my family and Bobby all got to be there with me, and that I was able to give birth to a healthy boy. This tiny human being fills my life with happiness and a love that I never knew existed. It's been a month since I gave birth to Zane, and I could not feel more blessed to be his mother.

My small tokens of advice for mamas to be:
Keep towels in your car, in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital.
Set up a playlist so you have your favorite music to listen to during labor. I wanted calm and relaxing music, so I played Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley
Get an enema before you go into delivery!! (lol) There is nothing more embarrassing and humbling than pooping in front of everyone you love, although you truly won't care during labor, and neither will your loved ones!
Be open-minded when it comes to how your baby will be brought into this world. It may not be the route you had envisioned, but the most important thing is safely delivering a healthy baby! When I look in the mirror, my c-section scar reminds me of the best day of my life. I LOVE my badge of honor!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Baby Shower (34 weeks)

This past weekend, my mom hosted my baby shower, and it was amazing! My sister flew in from New York, and my entire family came together and worked so hard to make this a dream shower for me. I have never felt more loved and blessed, being surrounded by all the people that I love. My cousin was kind enough to offer her gorgeous home as our venue, and my mom cooked all the delicious food.  It was a magical day I will never forget.
My dress cost $15 from TJ Maxx and was stretchy and comfy (not maternity)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8 Months Pregnant

I thought this pregnancy would feel like a lifetime, but to my surprise, it has flown by. I am now 32 weeks, which makes me a whopping 8 months pregnant! I can now finally say, "I'm due next month" and with that, my nesting instincts have definitely kicked in. I wake up at the crack of dawn to empty my smashed bladder, and then can't shut my mind off. All these thoughts of preparing for baby's arrival consume my brain. I need to pack my hospital bag, diaper bag, I need to get a diaper bag, oh, baby has the hiccups, yet again. He gets the hiccups multiple times a day, and though everyone says I will soon get annoyed with them, I just see them as a loving reminder that he is always with me and doing well. Pre-pregnancy, I weighed in at 110 lbs., and now, 20 pounds later, I look like I'm hiding a basketball under my shirt. I still get shocked when I walk past a mirror and catch a glimpse of my big ol' belly. It's amazing! This pregnancy has been so smooth that I actually think I will truly miss being pregnant. I had a good week or two of heartburn that would make sleeping a bit difficult, but I stopped eating hours before bed, and if I felt it coming on, I'd prop myself up on a bunch of pillows and sleep a bit upright. Other than that, the only other symptom I have really experienced is the fatigue from the first trimester, making it's way into this final trimester.

My baby shower is next weekend, and I couldn't be more excited to see all my family, especially my sister from New York, who is flying out for this special occasion. I was with her when she delivered her second baby, and now, she gets to see me pregnant! The only thing missing will be my sister in Hawaii, but with four kids of her own, it's very difficult to get away. I will be sure to post tons of photos of my baby shower for everyone to see!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Butterfly Blessings

My friend, Cristeen, brought me to a beautiful park by her house, to take OOTD photos. Once we were finished, we hopped in my car to head back to her house. As we were driving out of the park, I noticed a butterfly fluttering on the ground. I stopped my car to see if the butterfly was alright, and quickly learned that there were TWO butterflies, and they were mating! I pulled out my phone to try to capture a photo of the beautiful act, when suddenly, one of the butterflies flew into my car and landed on my lap and stayed there for a good ten minutes. Cristeen was terrified, and I always thought it was good luck when a butterfly lands on you, but never has one remained there like this! We exited my car and took photos and video recordings of my new friend, before helping it onto a tree. The butterfly was probably exhausted from mating, and found a place of rest and comfort on me, but it definitely made my day.

Top & Sunglasses: H&M
Pants, earrings, shoes: Forever21

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A pregnant woman's best friend: the Maxi skirt

Maxi skirts have always been a favorite of mine, but even more so, now that I am really showing. These photos were taken before I started to show, but after I hit week 20, my belly has steadily grown quite a bit. It was right around the 21st week that I 'popped' or it became very evident to the general public that I am indeed expecting. Since I've always dressed in form fitting clothes, I'm finding the options of clothes to wear from my closet are quickly shrinking, but one thing that will never let me down is my maxi skirt. Maxi skirts and dresses are a pregnant woman's best friend, especially in the summertime.

Sandals: Forever21
Skirt: Fashion Q
Top: www.FashionNova.com
Necklace & Hat: Charlotte Russe

Friday, May 2, 2014

Week 19: Visual Movement

This week has been so exciting for me for a few reasons. First is that not only have I began feeling frequent movement from my bundle of love, but I also saw my belly move for the very first time! I will just lay on my back and enjoy the show. I also had a doctors appointment and got to see my love moving around via sonogram. Next week will be my 20 week anatomy scan, and this means I will get to sit back and watch my little one again, so I can't wait for that. I will also be revealing my baby's gender and can't wait to share this exciting news with everyone!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lady in Red (Stripes)

The thing that I love about wrap dresses is how they allow you to expand or tighten the fit of the dress to your own liking. I did have to safety pin the top of my dress, however, to prevent from a massive eyeful of cleavage, (sometimes too much really is too much). I tried to be serious during this quick shoot, but anyone who knows me, knows this is practically impossible. My great friend and photographer for the day, Cristeen, cracked me up the entire time, and I love her for that.

Dress: www.ShopTheRunway.com
Shoes: JustFab
Bracelets: Forever21

Friday, April 25, 2014

Week 18: I am WOMAN, hear me roar

We've all heard this saying, and it wasn't until this point in my life that I truly grasp the veracity of this statement. Preparation for motherhood may have something to do with it. OK, it has a LOT to do with it; think about it. We are baby making machines, pretty much the closest thing to a real life super hero. I have been experiencing a plethora of changes to my body, and I'll spare you the gory details, but really, the changes our bodies go through, from creating a life from scratch, to delivery (gasp!) are nothing short of miraculous. Mothers, give yourself a nice pat on the back. You are amazing!
When I found out that I was expecting, no one could be more surprised than myself, for the simple fact that I never knew I was capable of creating and growing another human being. I had initially planned to keep my pregnancy hidden for as long as possible, but as time passed by, and my baby bump grew, no one could stop me from shouting from the roof tops, "I'm having a baby!". I wear my little belly with pride, and savor every moment, especially the kicks that I'm finally blessed to start feeling. Last night, I was reading a book in bed, and my little one must have thought it was a great time to try out gymnastics, doing somersaults, and letting me know, "I'm with you, Mommy." It truly made my night.  I know this is just the beginning, and it's only getting better.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From Drab to Fab

From Drab...
                                                                         To Fab!

Check out my step by step tutorial here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cristeen brought me to a beautiful park with a lake and plenty of ducks walking around, and I fell in love with the peacefulness of this place. In honor of Coachella, which is currently taking place, I felt like dressing up for this special event (even if I wasn't attending) and threw on my old vintage shorts. Being four months pregnant, and growing each day, I knew this would be my last opportunity to fit into them. I actually had trouble buttoning the top button, so Cristeen taught me a trick of using an elastic band on my button, which allows my jeans to appear buttoned; genius!

Booties: Haute Look
Shorts: Vintage shop
Top: Asphalt Yacht Club
Kimono: TheWeekendWardrobe.com
Hat & necklace: Forever 21

Monday, April 14, 2014

False Lashes for every occasion and how to apply them

There are different types of false lashes which are suitable for any occasion.
  • For a subtle, natural, daytime look: Apply individual lashes to the lash line, from the middle to the outer corner.
  • For a night time look: My favorite lashes are called Wipsies, or Demi Wispies. These lashes have a natural look to them, but have added length and pumped up volume. Ardell makes my favorite Wispie lashes.
  • For a dramatic GLAM look: For the ultimate lashes, apply any kind of false lashes. Then, for the extra vavoom, apply individual lashes to the middle to outer corner of the eyes. Or, you could double stack any pair of your favorite false lashes.
How to Apply False Lashes:
Once I have a pair of false lashes, I place them over my lash line to measure the length with my actual eye. Most times, the false lashes are a bit too long for my eyes, so I will trim the corners. Once they are the right size, I simply apply lash glue to the band of the lashes, wait 20 seconds for the glue to get tacky, and then place them as closely to my lash line as possible. The best method for me, is to place the lashes on the middle of my lashline, and then secure the outer corners. Then I close my eyes, and gently press my top lashes toward my browbone for a few seconds. This allows the glue to dry with the lashes to curl upwards.


Can BB Creams live up to all the hype?

BB creams, also known as a beauty balm, or a blemish base, originated in East and Southeast Asia, and have recently made their way to the Western market. They are praised for being able to act as a multi-purpose moisturizer, base, and foundation, to hide blemishes and tint the skin, all in one bottle. Though often used for its' skin whitening properties by Koreans, in the US, I have often heard BB creams being called 'tinted moisturisers on steroids', with a range of shades to choose from. 
*Tip: If you have naturally oily skin, I recommend setting the bb cream with setting powder to prevent any greasiness.
With so many companies creating their own bb concoction, I decided to try my first one, and tried Stilas' version. My first reaction was that it did not give my face the color that I was expecting, in fact, hardly any color at all. However, I soon discovered the silky finish that this cream left on my face. My face was very very matte, and more importantly, my pores disappeared! My skin looked flawless, like porcelain. This product is perfect for summer. I like to let my skin breathe as much as possible during the hot months, so I will apply the Stila BB cream all over my face, conceal my undereyes, add bronzer for some color, and I'm out the door. I love this product, and will repurchase it, while trying out more BB creams!

Daycation in Malibu

I was invited to a retreat by my friend HonestlyJamie, and I had no idea what to expect, but It has become such a memorable and special day. My day began with a driver picking me up from my home and taking me on a relaxing and scenic drive up the southern California coast, up to the Malibu Hills. Once I arrived, I was greeted by fellow beauty/style bloggers, chit chatted and snacked on fruit & champagne. Once all the bloggers arrived, we were greeted by Kate Shaw, the director of marketing for Urban Remedy, an organic juice cleansing brand. She expressed to us the importance of cleansing our bodies of toxins, as well as cleansing our minds of negative energy. We then spent an intense hour in a real life teepee with a circle leader, Andrea Bendewald, where we cried, laughed, and all left feeling refreshed and inspired to conquer the world! That being said, we worked up quite an appetite, and walked out of the teepee to find blankets on the grass, perfectly set up for a peaceful afternoon picnic. We chowed down on healthy and delicious salad, and pressed juices, which were equally as satisfying. I even got to bring some home!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Blessing

God has blessed me with the most miraculous gift, my beautiful baby. My bundle of love is due this September. Here is my 12 week ultrasound.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Feeling Blue

I did a fun collaboration with JustFab, and as I sure you can guess, the theme was Blue. We had a blast, shooting all around West LA while sporting some seriously cute outfits.