NATURAL LABOR & DELIVERY STORY + MEET MY BABY

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And just like that I am a mom! Our little love Leona Rose was born April 5th at 9:24 pm after mama embraced 53 hours of ALL NATURAL child birth. 

Baby making is officially the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. 

Having had hyperemesis during my pregnancy along side the general discomfort from just being pregnant was a nightmare but I survived. During this time I learned the art of surrendering and how to give in to discomfort daily with as much grace as possible. I believe pregnancy is the prep work and every day is practice. The suffering I learned with hyperemisis worked in my favor when it came to child birth - by my third trimester I had become a pro at being uncomfortable.

Although discomfort was familiar, there is nothing that can totally prepare you for child birth (other than child birth). Contractions during active labor are insane, pushing is the craziest feeling in the world and crowning is just pure torture. Doing it all unmedicated, totally natural, and openly subjecting yourself to feeling every sensation is insane and really there are no words to perfectly describe it but I am proud to do it all for her. 

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Women are absolutely amazing and I have so much respect for us gal pals and what we are capable of. I am incredibly proud to be a women and incredibly proud of myself. The amount of discomfort we go through emotionally, mentally, and physically is unreal and something you have to go through yourself to even begin to understand.

As happy as I am that I was able to go natural there was a point in my pregnancy that Leo was breeched and we were looking at a planned C Section. Having been committed to an all natural birth for years and not knowing anything about a C Section I did LOTS of research. It was during this time that I realized how much judgement and pressure there is on women to do all of it a certain way. The judgement and pressure many moms face on their journey to motherhood bothers me and too often women are pressured to do things in an unauthentic way. Women should be empowered and confident in their intuition more than ever during this special time.

There are so many people who have an opinion on the way they did it vs the way others did, this is true for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. It bothers me because as new moms we are already overwhelmed balancing it all and judging ourselves on doing a "good enough" job while our bodies are going through intense change. There needs to be more compassion and love. 

I believe that YOUR experience is YOUR experience. This is my experience, my story and ultimately what worked best for me and my family. I dont believe that I am better than anyone or that I love my child more because I subjected myself to mass amounts of pain going natural. I also dont think you are better than me or that you love your child more because you are breastfeeding and I am not. We are all just doing the best we can. 

So with all of that said meet my gorgeous daughter Leona. 

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She is absolute perfection and worth every ache and pain! She looks so much like her daddy I love it. She is 6 weeks old now and I have finally just adjusted to the newborn phase in the last week or so. Weeks 1-4 were hard, sleep deprivation is a beast and funny enough when I hit the end of my rope with a mental break down she started sleeping through the night. Postpartum hormones are unfair and the baby blues were something I was not prepared for. More on all that later. 

To get to the good stuff and the reason you are here...Two weeks before babe was born something changed. I wasn't sleeping great because my body just ached and things felt different. I would wake up every night with contractions not knowing what was going on because I obviously have never done this before. Every ache and pain was new to me and brought lots of stress and worry with it.

I did lots of research on what to expect when I was in labor so I would feel "prepared". Frustratingly everyone just defaulted to the "you'll just know intuitively know" response which I found really annoying. Because of the lack of info I kept track of EVERYTHING I was feeling weeks before she was born so I could share my story with all of you hopefully providing the kind of insight I was looking for. Funny enough in the end I didn't confidently know I was in labor until I went to my 39 week midwife appointment.

Weeks leading up to the big event I was having random bursts of contractions, really painful naval pain and sharp shooting cervical pain that would make me jump. She was moving around way more than ever and would shift to the right side before every contraction. My body just felt different, I was extra fatigued and extra hormonal. 

On 3/31 I woke up in the middle of the night to the WORST cervical pinch. It felt like I was being ripped in half starting from that part of my body sending tingly shooting pains down my legs and back. The pain was bad enough I had doubtful thoughts about my pain tolerance which stressed me out. 

The pain was getting gradually worse every day and getting to work was hard. I decided to take my maternity leave come Monday 4/3 (which is funny enough when I went into labor). Aside from my very long prodromal labor the timing actually worked beautifully. 

On 4/3 I woke up from a crazy dream about babies being delivered via assembly line. My friend was with me and she was first in line to "pop" out her baby. She got up on a scale, they injected something into her arm and her baby literally just popped out. Behind the counter they weighed her baby, gave her baby a hospital bracelet and moved on to the next person within minutes. My friend was upset because she felt robbed of the whole experience. I argued with the front desk about how this was not an ok experience and demanded to see a manager. I argued telling everyone that we both wanted different and they needed to fix the whole experience. 

When I woke up from the bizarre dream I had lost my mucus plug! 

My doula came over around 10:30 that morning to do some spinning babies exercises. We were worried about babes positioning because she was previously breeched like I mentioned and she was moving to the right before every contraction. 

My mom and I met Mason at my 39 week appointment which I ironically moved from Tuesday to Monday because of the way things were moving along. I was 4 & 1/2 cm dilated 80% effaced and that she could be here any minute. They said if I wanted to have my membranes stripped I could probably have her that night. Membrane stripping was not an induction method I was cool with so we passed on that and headed home. 

Between 4:00-9:00 pm I was having regular 10 min apart contractions. Contractions frustratingly stayed that way until Tuesday night when they dropped to 3-5 min apart and the midwifes suggested I come into the hospital. 

At the hospital the contractions slowed down and things continued to be stagnant. I was exhausted functioning on very little sleep and we talked about my options. They said they could break my water and most likely things would get moving, but if things didn't get moving intervention would be necessary because my water would be broken. My other option was to head back home and try and get some sleep. They suggested that if I was strongly committed to my all natural birth plan that sleep is what I needed and they suggested some Morphine to help me sleep through the contractions. 

After going back and forth with my birth team and having a few moments to myself to think about the pros and cons, I decided to head home with a little Morphine. This was easily the worst part of my labor and delivery because I couldn't think, I was incredibly uncomfortable, and all natural was my game plan. Morphine went again my wishes but I also NEEDED sleep if I wanted to continue with my plan. Trying to make a game changing decision with my mind and body in their current state was shitty. 

The Morphine was awful, I felt flighty and floaty with no stability. I woke up for every 4-5 min apart contraction crying and totally dazed. Mason held me and did his best to help me relax while he tracked my contractions. I don't remember a whole bunch because of how loopy I was, it just felt like I was in a never ending foggy tunnel of pain that I had no control over. Not being able to feel the surface and bunker down through each contraction made it torture. 

After a few hours the Morphine thankfully wore off, I had managed to get about an hour of sleep which helped but I was still exhausted and pretty uncomfortable. I moved to the bath and did my best to relax and breathe through it all. Raquel came over that morning and we did what we could to get labor moving forward and out of the stagnant never ending circle we seemed to be in. We went for walks, labored in different positions at home, applied clary sage and when I could we slept. Raquel stayed at my house during this whole time while Mace and I both napped. Through each contraction when I would wake up Raquel was right by my side. 

When contractions thankfully moved to 2 minutes apart and were incredibly regular active labor began and the dialogue totally changed. At this point I was so over labor and wanted relief bad. 

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We head to the hospital around 4:00 pm on Wednesday April 5th.

They heat up the hospital tub and do all the necessary checking, I am now 7 cm dilated and 90% effaced. 

At 8:00 pm I am 8cm dilated, 90% effaced, and I've got a bulging bag of waters. At 8:55 pm my water breaks which is totally crazy and insanely powerful. Mace feels it pop while his hands are on my tummy, we are both surprised and laughing by how nutso it all felt. 

The midwife asks if I can feel her head, I reach down and say it just feels like a wall. She checks and sure enough its babes little head! At 9:13 pm I am out of the tub, on the hospital bed on all fours breathing, pushing, moaning, and crying her out. My adorable Aries sun/Leo moon is born at 9:24 pm and she is pure perfection.

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Pushing is what surprised me the most. When that transition phase hit I just had to be there, my body took care of the rest. It was all painful but your mind keeps you pretty out of it to cope. The oxytocin your body creates was amazing and felt totally awesome, its the perfect combination of a grounding high and a floating high both beautifully balanced and dancing around every sensation in your body. You combine that with all of the love in the room and the power behind what all just happened and it is the most incredible feeling in the world. 

Meeting my daughter and having Mace by my side was my highlight. He held me through every step of labor encouraging me, loving me, and keeping me positive. I will forever remember and be grateful for how hands on and supportive he was. I feel like we together delivered our baby, I could not have done that without him. 

My doula Raquel was so great and I am so glad I hired her. Having a doula was a complete game changer and made natural child birth way less intimidating. She taught me so much about the whole process that when the day finally arrived I had no fear (which I was worried about). I felt prepared, knowledgable, and confident. She was my birth expert coaching me through every step of the way. She made the contractions easier talking me through each one and applying the perfect counter pressure relieving so much pain. She gave me back massages, kept me positive, gave suggestions and options, kept me moving and eating. She kept me aligned with my intentions and wishes reminding me of all that was important. I loved knowing she was in my corner rooting for me, praying for me, and worrying about all the things I couldn't focus on. 

If you are looking for an incredible doula, check out Raquel >> HERE << and >> HERE <<

The Midwifes at IHC are incredible, with how long my labor was I saw three different midwifes and a handful of nurses. Everyone was so supportive, hands off, loving, and caring. They gave me lots of love, options and time - all of which are so important in the heat of labor. There was no pressure and my birth plan was totally respected. The hospital care was on point and I felt very well taken care. The midwife Jen that delivered Leona was amazing, we couldn't have asked for someone better and I am so grateful for the grace, strength, and comfort she gave during labor. MaryKay was another one that made a big impact, she was there during the difficult decisions and went above and beyond calling me at 6 am to check in with me.

My birth team was so great and I couldn't ask for a better group of amazing people. 

I am so happy with her birth, labor and delivery, and the decision to go natural. There are endless benefits to both you and your baby and if I could go back I wouldn't change a thing. I believe every women should explore going all natural. It was easily the hardest thing I have ever done and the absolute worst pain I have ever been in but it was amazing and I am really proud of myself.

It did take me a few weeks to get to the point where I could say that though and watch the video feeling good about it. Watching the delivery video made me want to vomit up until about a week ago. I was reminded of the amount of pain and stagnant suffering that happened every time I thought about it, talked about it, or watched the video and it was all too fresh in my mind. Coming home was weird because certain spaces in my home felt triggering and the energy was a bit off. It was all just intense and completely out of this world. I do think its absolutely amazing women get the opportunity to bring life into the world but the amount of energy is just insane. With the baby blues and hormonal changes it did take time to heal not only physically from birth but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.   

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I thankfully did not tear and my recovery was incredibly fast (a great reason to go natural) which I am so happy about because I am able to focus more on her. The newborn phase is hard! After Mace went back to work I had a few mental breakdowns while my body adjusted hormone wise, I worked through the difficulty of the baby blues and breastfeeding, and rocked it on about 2 hours of sleep each night. 

Its been hard juggling, adjusting, and balancing it all while sacrificing my time with Mace for sleep but the last few weeks have been so much better and totally amazing with her sleeping about 6 hours through the night. She's also becoming very animated and alert which is so much fun and just melts your heart. She smiles so much which makes my soul light up. She makes lots of little squeaks and noises all through the night and the funniest coos that we love. Her eyes are captivating and her smile is contagious, she gets cuter and cuter every day and we are both totally in love. 

Mason is so adorable with her and I love watching him be the cutest dad ever. They both have the biggest smiles when they look at each other and it feels so rewarding to be apart of those moments knowing this is my family. 

Not only was he absolutely impressive during labor and delivery but he has been so supportive during the hormonal chaos ive been going through. He is always open to chat encouraging me to talk about how I am feeling and whats going on. He is so aware and in tune with me, always knowing where I am at and if something is off. 

We have grown so close after bringing our little love into the world and I feel more connected to him than ever which just feels like magic. 

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I could go on forever chatting about this subject. Be sure to check out the video for more > HERE

Much love! 

-Magnolia Rose

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Holiday shopping can definitely be a bit of a nightmare. With so many different people to buy for, it can get a little hectic trying to find the most budget friendly, solid gift, you know your loved ones will love. Not to mention the chaos surrounding each and every store this time of year. 

I love giving gifts way more than receiving them. I adore surprising someone with something super unique or new that they haven't tried. I feel like I give pretty kick ass gifts BUT I am also not made of money so it often takes a bit of research to find the perfect item. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the holiday shopping or you just need a little inspiration keep reading!

I have put together a super easy gift guide with gifts you CANNOT go wrong with! In addition to links below each photo I have also compiled all of these + more into a Pinterest board. And dont worry, if you hate reading ive also got you covered. Click > HERE < to check out the video! ENJOY!


THE CLASSIC GIFT THAT WILL NOT FAIL

You cannot go wrong with candles. Everyone likes candles! This is also a gift that is super easy to customize as there are endless varieties of scents.

I dig Bath & Body Works candles for 2 main reasons...

1. Their candles last long, smell great, & are super adorable. 

2. They are ALWAYS doing some kind of sale, especially this time of year. 

In addition to quality & price they make great containers for after the candle is all burned out AND they often are already gift wrapped, making your life even easier!

These candles typically go for about $20-$25 which is way more than I want to spend on a candle. If you keep tabs on your email as well as your mail or simply check out their website for frequent holiday sales you can get a massive discount. For example I snagged a bunch of these three wick candles for $8.50 each. 

TIP: If you don't know what scent suites someone, stick with the holiday themed scents. 


FOR THE PAMPER EVENING QUEEN

Its no surprise to anyone how strong my obsession is for Lush bath bombs. I am the queen of pamper night. I take a relaxing bath every week and I love it. Lush is also such an easy customizable gift because they have a large variety of scents. 

I would recommend Lord of Misrule bath bomb or The Magic of Christmas bubble wand. Both make for a super fun Christmas themed bath filled with magical scents that come with a serious side effect of relaxation. 

Make it a whole theme with some tea lights, maybe a little wine, and a good book. That is one hell of a good gift that is real budget friendly, unique, easy, & thoughtful. 

If you still feel lost, Lush has a little gift guide of their own you can check out > HERE <


FOR THE FUNNY GUY (OR GAL)....

I love love love humor gifts. In the past I would find funny books you find at gift shops and give those away to my friends with a serious sense of humor.

They were the kind of gifts you would just leave out for a while on your coffee table or in your bathroom. They were funny when you were giving them to that person. But after a while it gets put in a box or given away as a white elephant gift. Funny books and trinkets are a blast but in my experience they fade. 

This year I am opting for funny mugs. Coffee mugs are something someone can always utilize. Giving a silly coffee mug is a great humor gift that sends a funny message but also gives someone something they can really use. If they dont drink out of it, it becomes a pencil holder or office organizer. Extra tea cups are great for candles, so theirs lots of options here. 

TJ Maxx often has some really unique ones that come with the bonus of being under $10, Urban Outfitters gets hilarious but you are typically looking at spending a little bit more. Check out local shops, gift shops, & online Etsy shops. You can often find some really cool, unique mugs that make for the best inside jokes. 


WHEN YOU'RE BALLIN ON A BUDGET

If money is tight the best route to take is a more creative one. I dig this anyways as its an excuse for my creative juices to get involved and often ends up saving me so much money.

These are the gifts that also come with the added bonus of being more thoughtful, memorable, and super unique. I bought this frame at TJ Maxx for $13, each photo was .50 cents from Nations Photo Lab during their holiday sale, the stickers, bows, & quotes vary between $1.00-$5.00 depending on what you are wanting. 

Total this cost me $15.00 and is definitely the best gift I have to give away this year and the one I am most excited for. 


FOR THE BEAUTY BABE

This is one legit gift I for one would LOVE to receive. Beauty products are always a great route to take. If you really want to treat someone go for a YSL lipstick, not only are these lipsticks a special surprise because of the gorgeous gold packaging but they are THE BEST lipsticks I have ever used.

They are perfectly creamy and moisturizing, they come in a variety of very rich and gorgeous colors, and they they are incredibly long lasting.

They are without a doubt the perfect lipstick making them the perfect gift for anyone that digs makeup. 

They are on the pricier side, retailing at Sephora for $32-$36 each depending on which one you grab.

But to me the holidays are a special time to really treat someone with something nice that they might not get for themselves because they cant justify the cost.

This is a bad ass gift you cannot go wrong with. Trust me, they are amazing! 


FOR YOUR BEARDED BROS

If you have a beard or are close to someone who does, than you know beard pride is a serious thing.

Growing the damn thing out is one challenge, keeping it well maintained is another, and if you want it to look legit you need good products. 

Beardology is a great brand that like Lush takes pride in using all natural ingredients, being animal friendly, and being recyclable.

You can purchase this gift set one time or set it up as a monthly subscription service, arriving at your door step conveniently every month. 

You get to choose from a variety of scents. Your set up comes with a beard wash, beard oil, and beard balm. Great for those bearded studs in your life! 


GIFT SETS

This time of year everyone is in the mind set of gift sets. Gift sets are so easy, adorable, and cost effective. 

For example I went to Sephora needing my favorite makeup remover from Boscia, a full size retails for $30. They had this lovely gift set with a full size Boscia makeup remover + 2 new products I get to try and a Konjac facial sponge which I love for only $45. 

Gift sets are an obvious choice where you cant go wrong. 


THE STEREOTYPICAL "YOU STINK" JOKE...

Cologne, perfume, lotion, etc... its all great! But fancy brands are too expensive. You can get great, good quality, inexpensive, full size scents for under $20 if you know where to go.

I would suggest Curve for men, they have some great options that are super cheap, I got this one for $15 at TJ Maxx.

Anthropolgie has some really yummy scents that are amazing, retailing for $18. And you get the added bonus of the brand haha. 

Charlotte Russe has one of my all time favorite perfumes for only $10, shop fast and receive 30%-50% off before XMAS to get it even cheaper. 

Bath & Body Works is honestly not my favorite quality wise but scent wise you have some great options. Every once in a while I snag a scent I adore so much I can deal with the greasy-ness.

Boutiques and local shops often have super yummy scents that you cant find anywhere else. Not only is it best to buy local but your gift will be super unique! 


FOR YOUR TECHY FRIENDS & FAM

Authentic polaroid cameras are great but often expensive and hard to find. If you still want the look of an adorable vintage pic I would suggest the FujiFilm Mini Polaroid Camera. I have my house covered in these little prints and I love it! 

Urban Outfitters almost always has these babies for sell, you can typically get it a little cheaper from BestBuy or Amazon BUT Urban has them for $80 right now which is the cheapest ive ever seen! So jump on it! 

The cameras themselves come in a variety of colors making it customizable for whomever you are purchasing it for. If you want to add to this gift, you can get colorful prints, cases, bags, etc...

TIP: They do not come with prints unless you bundle it, make sure to purchase some prints so your lucky loved one can start snapping! 


COMFY SOCKS

You cant go wrong with socks. You can find a great pair for anyone, and you can snag a pair for as little as $2 + depending on where you are shopping. Need I say more? 


BEAUTY BABES ROUND 2

If you're shopping for a makeup lover and you have a bigger-ish budget I would go for a makeup pallet. Eyeshadow or contour pallets are always a safe option because skin tone generally doesnt matter. 

With an eyeshadow pallet you cant go wrong if you go the Lorac Pro route. They have a variety of cold and warm, matte and sparkle, so one of these babies will work for everyone! 

Right now is the time to buy too! They have holiday options, limited edition, travel size, etc...LOTS to choose from. 

A great makeup pallet is a wonderful way to splurge and treat someone. If price is a concern because most good pallets range from $25 + I would suggest anything from an NYX pallet OR a single Mac eyeshadow pod. 

Quality over quantity. Good products make a difference! 


STOCKING STUFFERS! 

For beauty lovers, take advantage of the checkout line at Sephora and Ulta. You can snag alot of travel sized products from great brands that make great stocking stuffers.

Nail polish, lip gloss, EOS balms, makeup brushes, face masks, cleansers, etc...there are tons to choose from! 

TIP: Unless you know someones skin color I would avoid concealers or foundations but you can go for a translucent powder like the Laura Mercier travel size. This works for most skin tones and is one of the greatest additions to my makeup routine. 

Bath & Body Works travel size lotions, shower gels, sprays, etc...are also solid choices. B&BW also has some of my all time favorite lip glosses and they are always buy 2 get 1 free.

Take advantage of those discounts AND keep tabs on your mail, often travel size products from B&BW you can get for FREE.

For non beauty lovers go with items like gift cards, candy, headphones, movies, socks, card games, books, keychains, ornaments, desk trinkets, office supplies, etc...


EXPRESS YOUR LOVE

And lastly, express your love and appreciation for your loved ones.

With every gift I give I throw in a little card. Its the spirit of XMAS that needs more attention. Start the tradition of sharing your gratitude for all of the important people in your life with a card. If writing isnt your thing, simply use your words...

I hope your holiday season is going swell! Wishing you all happy shopping! All items can be found via Pinterest > HERE <

WANT MORE HOLIDAY GIFTS? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO! 

Much love, 

Magnolia Rose