Anniversary Bliss + How We Found Out I Was Pregnant

Today marks a very special day for us. Today is our second wedding anniversary and our little Evalyn Mae turns 4 months! Who ever said 13 wasn’t a lucky number?

As I reflected on the Lords’ goodness for carrying us through to another wonderful year of marriage I can’t thank Him enough for all he has done for me and my family. Although life hasn’t been perfect, it’s been filled with so many beautiful moments.

This morning started off with waking up to my husband running out the front door. I thought to myself, that was a little strange. Maybe he had an appointment, maybe he needed some fresh air? I dunno. But I had my suspicions. And of course, when he came home 10 minutes later, he came in with a wide smile and a hand full of some of my favorite flowers: hydrangeas, and white lilies. Hydrangeas was a must today because he knew they reminded me of our special day… our wedding consisted of 90% of white hydrangeas. They’re so pretty, aren’t they? Well, I had a little surprise under my sleeve too, of course. I had a busy day yesterday but managed to bake my husband’s favorite cake… the pastry cake (find my recipe here). This cake is kinda a big deal for us ’cause this was his, “ok this girl is wifey material kinda cake” Lol. So I managed to hide it in our kitchen pantry and cream it after the baby fell asleep last night…without hubby walking into the kitchen. Wow! I felt like I was on a mission. But sneakily smiled once the task was complete, feeling like super women! Needless to say, hubby was really excited to have cake for breakfast and was a little amazed at my cake hiding in the fridge, he he.

Annnnyway, just when I thought our first year of marriage was exciting, this past year was even more so, all because of the birth of our sweet little girl. She makes our life colorful. It was around this time last year when we found out I was pregnant. We spent our anniversary on a little Malibu weekend getaway. This wasn’t really a planned pregnancy, but we did try a few weeks before and left the rest in the Lords’ hands. I didn’t feel any different (obviously cause it was too soon) but I had this feeling that I was carrying a miracle, oh and the missed period was a dead giveaway, cause I never miss! I was on cloud nine! The evening of our weekend stay I whipped out the birth control test and as soon as that positive indication appeared, my heart sank! I got that in-love, oh-my-gosh we’re engaged happiness all over again…but this time it was a baby! A baby of my own! I didn’t sleep that whole night. With every toss and turn I tried to imagine what this child would look like, and if “it” would be a boy or girl…so many endless thoughts, I can still remember that night so clearly. But my husband? Fast asleep, ha! Oh, a man will never understand the excitement of carrying a child, and the joy that comes with that! What a privilege it is to be a woman… can I get an Amen?!

So I really don’t know how 3 years of marriage is going to top the first 2… unless of course, I get pregnant again…but let’s save that thought for another day. 😉

I.P. XO

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Roasted Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese

Whatcha making for dinner tonight? How about you try this delicious stuffed pepper recipe?! Easy to make, no mess, healthy option with a gourmet outcome.

First off, let me say I’m sorry for not posting a recipe for months… or completing my “frozen meal series”. With baby Ev who came sooner than expected and my first months of mommyhood, I really haven’t had the time or desire to make/share my favorites recipes. Sleep deprivation will do that to you people. But since hubby and I are on a mission to eat healthier dinners, I have been trying to spice up the menu..cause eating healthy can get a little bland time after time. Another healthy alternative is stuffing the peppers with quinoa- which turned out great! But I have to admit the rice is a classic, at least for me.

I grew up loving stuffed peppers. It was always a treat when my mom had them baking in the oven. The aroma would fill the house! The sweet and savory smell of roasted peppers was delightful. It always reminded me of the Fall season which is the main season for bell peppers. When peppers are in season (which runs through July-November) they’re at their finest- juicy, sweet, crisp and full of flavor. So now is the perfect time for making this meal…oh! And most likely they’ll be on sale too. (Yay!)


As I mentioned, this a great freezer meal because they are easy to prepare and store! My mom used to freeze them as well and they’re a great meal for those days when you don’t feel like cooking.

Want a gluten free option? Try quinoa instead of rice! (See full recipe below)

     

Roasted Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese

Ingredients

  • Yields: 6 stuffed bell peppers
  • Filling:
  • 1lb Beef
  • 1lb Pork
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup of parsley, cut up*
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste*
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
  • Season with paprika, salt, garlic powder, and pepper
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked, rinsed*
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of water*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Begin by making the filling. Grease a large pan with oil at medium heat. Cut up the onion and garlic and fry until translucent. Add the pork, and beef until browned. Next season with spices according to taste, then add shredded carrots, parsley, tomato paste, lemon juice, and feta cheese. Continue to mix until carrots have softened, for about 15 minutes.
  3. Next, add the uncooked rice to the mixture and mix until blended. Turn off heat.
  4. Prepare the peppers by washing them, cutting into them by making a circular cut around the stem, and extracting the inside until clean.
  5. Once the stem is cut out, fill the peppers with prepared filling a little over 3/4 full (you need to allow room for the rice to rise).
  6. Place the filled peppers into an oven safe cast iron or stainless steel pot standing upward with the stem back on.
  7. Add water and the bay leaf to the bottom of the pot, making sure water is poured around the peppers.
  8. Close the pot lid shut, and cook for at least 2 hours.
  9. Top the cooked peppers with sour cream and feta!
  10. Freezing peppers: Prepare filling, only semi-cooking the rice, and do not bake filled peppers in the oven, freeze them. Thaw with ready to use, and bake at 1.5 hours.
    Alternatives: Instead of parsley you can use spinach, rice can be substituted for quinoa (1 cup uncooked), 2 cups of water is used for 9in pot- add more water if using a larger pot, using the tip of your index finger to determine the amount necessary.*
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Shades of Mauve for Fall

Hey, friends!

Labor day weekend has passed, kids are in school, and the unofficial new year has begun! Fall always gave me that refreshing feeling of new beginnings, can you say the same? I mean, I don’t have any kids going to school, and life is still in a basic routine with my almost 4-month-old- but seeing all the transitional pictures on my social media channels gives me that good-old Fall feeling. I love the feeling of seasons changing. Although So Cal is not really the best place for seasonal change, especially when it feels like summer is never ending, but it’s finally Fall, and I’m excited.

I’ll be honest, one of the biggest reasons I get excited about the Fall season is the Fall fashion! Knit sweaters, boots, hats, and trench coats are a few of my favorite things! It’s the season where layering clothes is a must and you don’t need to break a sweat pulling it off! Oh, and fall colors? To-die-for. One Fall color that I’m loving right now is shades of mauve. It just sounds Fall-ish, doesn’t it? It’s such a pretty transitional color from summer to Fall! I found this pretty button up from Pink Blush and I already know it’ll be wearing it on repeat. I love that is nursing friendly, airy, and can be dressed up and dressed down. Items like these make my life so much easier. And I think so many of you can relate. Check out how I styled this piece below! I went for more of a casual look since I hardly ever dress down, and I wanted to show you guys a little bit of my other side. 😉

 

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24 Things You May Have Not Known About Me

Last week I turned 24! I still get super excited about birthdays because I’m under the 30 mark! YAY! I really don’t mean to offend anyone who is over 30, but really, being in your 20’s is so fun. Although I am looking forward to my 30’s and 40s… and that’s pretty much it, ha!

Growing up birthdays was always a big deal for us. My mom made sure to make each of our birthdays special and memorable. I’m sure glad I can pass down that birthday enthusiasm for my little family. Although my husband doesn’t think birthdays are much of a big deal (and let’s face it…not many men do) he always makes sure to make it special for me in a very sweet and personal way.

This year was especially special for me. After living in So Cal for already a year, we’ve had the opportunity to visit and discover so many neat places, my husband finished his first year of his Master’s Seminary program (more info below), my blog turned 1, and most importantly I delivered the sweetest little girl into this world. It’s safe to say this was my best year yet. So many changes, and precious memories all bottled up for one year. God has been good- like always and his faithful is seen through all the stages of my life.

So in honor of my (belated) 24th birthday, I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to share 24 things about me! Some of you may be reading my blog for the first time, or have known me forever, but I thought I’d love to engage you with some things you may not have known about me.

You’ll come to realize I’m a little more exciting than you thought…I hope. 😉

24 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ME

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10 Things You Should Know Before Having a Baby

Hello, Friends!

I can’t believe my little Evalyn Mae is 3 months already. I remember the moment we brought her home from the hospital and thinking we had no idea what to expect. But thankfully many things came naturally to us and we just took one day at a time. It’s wonderful how the Lord designed women to be maternal. Our instincts, nurturing, and gentle touch are characteristics that the Lord has instilled in us from a young age… what a way to glorify God through motherhood! I remember having a lot of questions before Evalyn came along, and now that I finally went through pregnancy, delivery and a little bit of mommyhood, I would love to share some of the questions and answers that I had. No matter how many books and articles you read, it still doesn’t compare to going through this process yourself. But having some mommy input is definitely a good idea. 😉

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Blogiversary

YAY! Oh La Femme turns 1. Annnnd just like that…I’m celebrating 1 year of blogging! Actually, I didn’t realize it’s been one year until my husband mentioned it to me the other day. I guess time does fly when you’re having fun, huh?! Well, today I’m going to change it up and share my experience on blogging so far, some tips, and how anyone (no blog necessary) can sign up with Influenster to receive free samples.

Blogging has been quite the journey for me so far. I never thought I’d get where I am today in just one year especially with the amount of effort(less) I put into blogging…which was not a lot. But it has become a personal hobby of mine, which has been very, very rewarding.

I don’t think I ever told you guys why I started a blog in the first place… and since I’m in the reminiscing mood, I think now would be most appropriate. Growing up I had many interests that I always enjoyed sharing with others. I would spend time making personalized binders and writing in notebooks in hopes of gathering all my thoughts and future to-dos. I always had the right intentions of sharing what I loved, but never the right platform…until I seriously considered blogging. After contemplating this venture, I thought, why not? So I started a blog. I never expected to be the best blogger on the market (although there would be no harm in that), nor did I think I had what it took, but I simply wanted to honestly share what I love with people of similar interests. And what better way of doing that, then through blogging?! So here I am.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t take blogging too seriously for the first 6 months. When I first started up my blog, we were in between a BIG move (from Canada to California), working hard at my day job, and coming home to a sink full of dishes. I had so many ideas bottled up with no time to share them. Well, not much has changed, after moving to California I got pregnant and was left demotivated with constant morning sickness, and fast forward to now, my hands are full with being a full-time mommy (as I write this at 2 am lol). But aside from all of that, I saw this blog as a hobby, and I made time for it when I could and it has definitely served me well. In these past 6 months, after investing more time, I have worked with a bunch of well-known brands which I would have only hoped to work with in the past. And I’ll be sharing some of the effortless things that I do, and did that made this happen!

Blogging As a Hobby

Blogging has become such a big market in the past few years. Why? ‘Cause who doesn’t like sharing their 2 cents? It’s fun, interactive, and has many benefits. Also, I have connected and met some great people through blogging which has been a lot of fun! If you want to try blogging and if you’re ready to share your interests on a different platform, try it out. If you have valuable information to share, what’s stopping you? There is nothing to lose. I am currently blogging on WordPress, which is hosted by Bluehost. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I love helping others join me on this blogging journey!




Blogging Has Its Perks

This is definitely true. These past 6 months I got sooo many free things I already lost track. I get weekly packages in the mail and it feels like Christmas every time. Some of my favorite brands that I have worked with are Influenster, Luxyhair, ASOS, JORD watches, Amazon, bootay-bag, and Shop Pink Blush.

How to Pitch to Brands

If you’re wondering how I worked with these brands, well it’s easy! Brands will contact you if they think you’re a good match, or you can pitch to brands to see if they are interested in working with you. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I receive emails from brands that reach out to me in regards to working together- but sometimes pitching out to brands that I would love to work with makes me more excited! I  pick brands that I think would personally suit my blog interests. Isn’t that the whole point of blogging? At least it is for me, authenticity is key friends! When I pitch out to brands, 95% of the time, I end up working with them. I may not have the highest following or the most experience, but I try to keep my content genuine and qualitative. And most of the time, that is what brands value. Here are some steps to structure your pitch when reaching out to your desired brands!

  1. Introduce yourself and attach your social media handles.
  2. Tell them why you’re reaching out to them.
  3. Tell them why you think you’ll be a good “fit” to collaborate, and share your similar interests you have with the brand.
  4. Make your offer clear (etc. how you plan on sharing their item(s), and what you’re willing to do in exchange for their products.

Once again, you’ve got nothing to loose.

How to Get Started With Influenster 

After a recent Influenster post, I got many messages inquiring how I get free samples/boxes from Influenster. So here are a few tips that I used to get started:

  1. Sign up and complete your profile.
  2. Start off by writing some honest reviews of products you have tried before. This helps develop your profile.
  3. Complete snaps: these are quizzes that help narrow down what you like and use so that Influenster can find you products that best suit you.
  4. Check your email regularly. You don’t want to miss this because Influenster will send you direct emails based on what matched up on your profile. These emails will consist of a survey quiz to see if you qualify for the next box. So you don’t want to miss out by not checking your emails.
  5. Next, after receiving the box, make sure you complete the “tasks”. These are the requirements after you have received and tested the products. If you don’t complete them then you loose credibility. More credibility=more boxes.
  6. Lastly, make sure to keep checking your email because after each box you will have to do a feedback survey based on what you got. These surveys are only valid for 24-48 hours so you don’t want to miss them either. These feedback surveys are the key to continue getting more boxes.

It may seem like a lot of work but it really isn’t. It’s no more work than checking your Instagram daily…or hourly lol. Remember, the more you keep up with these surveys, and tasks, the more credible your profile becomes which means more…and bigger boxes! The last box I got was my favorite so far with a total value of approximately $150, which were mostly FULL-size products. It’s worth it and totally fun. Sign up today!

My Blogging Must-Haves

Lastly, I’m sharing my favorite blogging must-haves that I highly recommend;

  1. Professional camera: Once I started taking pictures with my Canon Rebel, I felt like it brought my pictures to the next level. Quality photos are what people want to see! You can find my camera here.
  2. Bright light: If you check out my Instagram, you’ll notice I love using natural light to take my photos, it makes them more eye appealing and clear.
  3. White cardboard for background: I love using this as a backdrop or background for my flat lays. It’s a really nice clean look! And you can find it at any dollar or craft store.

I really appreciate the constant support of my sweet followers, I really wouldn’t be here without you guys! So thank you.♥

I hope you found these tips helpful. It’s never too late to start doing something you enjoy! Life is short, make it fabulous, friends!

I.P. XO

 

 

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Summer Florals and Denim Cut-offs

I know, I’ve been so MIA lately, but between baby naps to busy summer days it’s been a little hard to sit down and blog. But honestly, I miss it. And I’m determined to make a weekly appearance… I hope. 😉

In a previous post, I mentioned I recently became a style ambassador for the brand, Pink Blush. Which has a wide range of fashionable items, along with maternity clothes  (but I don’t think I will be needing for the next few years…he he).

// STYLED // 

This month, I picked out another floral pastel dress because my fad with florals is never-ending. Floral prints are so feminine, flattering, and totally give me the summer vibes- which I am not looking forward to ending. Also, this dress is so easy to style. I paired it up with my favorite baby-blue strappy heels (FYI my go-to summer shoes). I feel like this dress is perfect for Sunday services, bridal/baby showers, and casual outings. It’s convenient because it’s light weight material doesn’t make you sweat, and you don’t need to worry about ironing it either (yay!). It’s the perfect, I don’t know what to wear, and something in-between fancy and casual. Need I say more?

(Dress comes in more colors)

  

The next item I picked out was a little unusual because I actually searched for it in the maternity section. Odd huh? Well, the truth is, I have been dying to wear a perfect pair of ripped jean shorts and it has been so hard to find during my pregnancy, and much more now, with my post-partum body. So I thought of this selection as an investment, until my next pregnancy and a convenience, with the elastic waist to make this fit more comfortable and flattering. It’s a win-win… like why haven’t I thought of this sooner?! And I must say, it’s pretty deceiving. No one would tell…unless they read this blog post, of course. 😉

Shop these items on Pink Blush, or find my direct links below.

I.P. XO

 

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Florals and Pastels from Pink Blush

I’ve partnered up with Pink Blush to share some of my favorite styles today! Pink Blush is a fun, trendy online boutique that have popular seasonal must-haves and an adorable maternity line- which I wish I knew about when I was pregnant!

Although, to be honest it is a little refreshing not having to wear maternity clothes- I mean as much as I loved being pregnant it’s nice to have more of a variety now without that bump! But now I have a different issue, I constantly have to think of nursing friendly clothes. Especially after some experiences of leaving the house for the day without a nursing top/dress I had to pay the consequence of being in a hot car or in the ladies room for up to an hour. It wasn’t fun. But the beauty of breastfeeding is you can feed anywhere.

So, I picked out two of my favorite styles now: floral print and a baby blue pastel dress.

Also not mention, I am looooving this off the shoulder look. It’s so flattering and can be dressed up and dressed down. And how darling is this print? Florals are so lovely and are perfect for any occasion.

Scoll down to see how I styled my favorite looks this season.

 

I adore pastels this season. To be honest, I never thought I’d pick out this color but when I did and put it on, I discovered a whole new world of color! Now I have a baby blue dress to match my baby blue-eyed baby. 🙂

Stay tuned if you want to see more of my looks from Pink Blush. I can’t wait to style more of my favorite summer looks!

I.P. XO

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My First Month of Motherhood

So here I am looking back on my first month of motherhood. Where did one month go? It literally felt like yesterday when we got home from the hospital and settled our little Evalyn Mae in our home.

Life now revolves around her. And we don’t mind one bit. Even through the sleepless nights, I can happily say I have been enjoying every bit of motherhood. She may not be as responsive with her facial expressions or emotions towards me (and us) but I know there is a bond, with every touch. She knows me. She feels me, and most importantly, she is fully dependent on me. How amazing! I will love her forever.

As I recollected this past month, I thought it would be helpful to share what has worked for me, and the baby. As expected there was an adjusting period for the first couple weeks finding what worked for Evy and what didn’t. I know it’s trial and error for the first couple months, and what works for one baby- may not necessarily work for another. But if your baby falls in the more same category as mine, maybe these tips will be helpful. And if you have any tips to share, please comment below, or send me an email. As always, I love hearing from you guys! 🙂

12 Things I Learned From My First Month Of Motherhood

  1. Prenatal Vitamins: I didn’t know this until some friends and my doctor recommended it. Because I breastfeed, it’s extremely important to continually nourish my body with essential vitamins/minerals. I guess I’m doing something right because during our 1 week check up with the baby, the pediatrician surprisingly asked if I was feeding my baby breastmilk with a combination of formula because she had gained 8oz in the first week (which is apparently unheard of)! Well, I have to give most of the credit to these vitamins, along with all the kale salads I’ve been eating, he he. This is the one I use.
  2. Iron and Magnesium supplements: I stopped taking my iron supplements for the first half of the month because I was out- and then started experiencing extreme fatigue (more than usual), body aches, and weakness. Iron is essential because you lose blood during delivery and up to a month after. Iron really helps with restoring your red blood cell count, so I started taking it again and the 3 am wake up calls aren’t as bad as they used to be. To help with the body aches, I also took magnesium about 3-4 times a week. (But as always consult your doctor first) this is just what worked for me. I take this Iron and Magnesium supplement.
  3. Witch hazel: Like most women, I also had hemorrhoids (Ewww, I know) for a couple weeks after. I was taking a prescribed stool softener, which really helped, but during that 2 weeks, every bowel movement was extremely uncomfortable. Instead of buying witch hazel pads, I simply use cosmetic face pads and put witch hazel on it to give instant and continual relief to the area. Sorry for being so descriptive lol- just wanna help a sister out! 😉
  4. Postpartum waist belt: Okay I don’t know where I would be without this…umm..well I guess still looking 6 months pregnant, ha! Unless you’re one of those girls who bounce back instantly- like in 2 days and look like you never had a baby- then you may want to give this belt a try. Especially since I had a c-section, my body will take longer to recover than if I had a natural birth. (If you want to read my birthing story, check it out here.) Some girls wear it religiously- like 24 hours a day, but I wear it a good 10-12 hours a day and I’ve seen drastic results. AND unlike most belts, which are expensive, mine was only $14, you can find it here.
  5. Nursing Bras: I’ve already talked about these bras during my pregnancy, but I want to mention them again because 9 months later and I’m still wearing them! They are super comfortable, hold their shape and are great quality for the price! (which are only $25 for 3) A pregnancy and PP must have. Find them here.
  6. Evenflo Pivot Travel System Stroller: There is soo many strollers out there! I spent a lot of time trying to find the best one for my liking. I was looking for style, functionality, quality, longevity, all at a good price. A lot to ask for, huh? No, not necessary. I found this awesome stroller for only $299- which is on sale now for $239 BTW. And the best thing about this one is that it goes from newborn to 5 years old. Also, it comes with a car seat! It really doesn’t get better than that.
  7. Birthing Robe: This is not necessarily called a “birthing robe” but I like to refer to mine as one because I wanted something chic and functional at the hospital after I delivered and for when I had visitors. This robe (find it here) was perfect! Not only did it look like a dress, but it was super comfortable, stylish and perfect for nursing and when we had visitors at home and the hospital. It’s so easy to throw on, the look is effortless, and I feel like a goddess wearing it at home, he he. I highly recommend it for you new mamas! Also, find out more similar styles here.
  8. Wipe warmer: Now on to the baby…after having Evy home for a week, we felt so bad to see her cry every time we changed her diaper. So we decided to get a wipe warmer, and although crying is a normal pattern for newborns while being changed or bathed- we found this still helped a lot.
  9. Goats milk soap bar and brush: I love bath time- but Evy totally hates it. She cries the entire time (poor thing). But I’m loving this goats milk bar of soap (which I got from a friend) that I use for her body/hair wash. It’s all natural and does not irritate the skin- you can find a similar one here. Also, because my baby has so much hair, I love using this goat’s hair brush on the daily which is gentle and perfect for tender scalps. This one is my favorite. 
  10. Vitamin D drops for baby: I had no idea this was necessary because I thought breastmilk had all the essentials. But apparently, breastmilk feed babies miss out on Vitamin D because it is not present in breastmilk (even if the mother takes a Vit D supplement). So my pediatrician highly recommending and I didn’t want to take any risks because I know how vital Vit D is for bone growth and development. I did my research and came across the most natural supplement I could find. Find it here.
  11. Leaky Tear Duct Remedy: Let me just say how amazing breastmilk is. It’s loaded with all the good stuff- all by Gods design. A week after Evy was born she had a leaky tear duct. Being a mom for the first time I was so worried it was a serious infection, but I was assured it was easily treated by breastmilk. (I got this information from relatives). I simply put some of my breastmilk on a cotton pad and applied it to the eye as many times as needed. The leaky duct was gone within a day! Now I wonder what else breastmilk is good for…
  12. Comforting a crying baby: I discovered this on my own while trying whatever it took to comfort my baby to sleep. Whenever Ev was in a half awake-half asleep mode and would wake up a little fussy- this was the best time for it! I would place my hand on her chest and say “shhhhhhhhhh” quietly until she would fall back asleep. This usually took 5 minutes at times, but surprisingly it would work…most of the time! And this was a lifesaver cause I didn’t have to pick her up and go through the change/feed/hold routine to pet her down again. I know the warmth of my hand, and my voice comforts her to make her feel safe and loved.

I hope all you mamas enjoy this time as much as I do. It all goes by so quickly. Instead of looking forward to the next stage where a baby will learn how to sleep, or learn to be potty trained, or are more independent- enjoy today! I am learning to cherish every moment, even in the tiredness, because I will never have the moment again. Children are truly a gift from the Lord. 🙂

P.S. I ADORE this robe. If you want to find more similar styles, check out the links below!

Pinterest.com/RobeSilkandmore
instagram.com/RobesBySilkandmore
Twitter.com/RobeSilkandmore
Facebook.com/RobesBySilkandmore


I have linked the listed items below↓

 

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The Birth Story Of Evalyn Mae Petz

People say that life will never be the same once you have a child- everything will change, but in the best way possible.

Our sweet little Evalyn Mae Petz was born May 13, 2017, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces, and 21 inches in length. This little bundle of joy came 10 days early, but we sure didn’t mind.

It was a Wednesday night. I was relaxing in bed when I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move for over a few hours. Which was very odd because she was very active…all the time! My husband said not to worry, and after thinking I was being a little paranoid, we decided not to worry. But I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right (mama instincts kicking in)! So, the next morning, I woke up to find no movement again. I waited a little longer, and then a little more longer. And after desperately trying to find an answer on Google (which was even more misleading), and asking around, I decided to call my doctor. After explaining my situation, the nurse sounded a little concerned and suggested I have a cold cup of water with ice, and lay on my back to see if the baby will move. It took about 2 minutes (which felt like an eternity) until I finally felt a sharp kick, “THANK GOD!” I cried out. But after a while, I felt nothing again. It was terrifying. So I called the doctor’s office back, and they suggested I came in right away for some vitals testing. It was at this moment, everything changed…

With my head spinning with frustration and anxiety, I grabbed my (half packed) hospital bag and bolted out the door with my husband. All I could think of in those moments was about the safety of my baby. I remember crying and praying that the Lord would protect this sweet child in me, on the whole ride to the hospital. And He did.

When we got to the hospital, I was taken into a triage room in order for the nurses to take my vitals. They quickly set me up and started whispering and mumbling under their breaths, which was very concerning. “What is it?”, “what’s wrong?”,” is everything ok?”… is all I could repeat. Then they quickly set me up with oxygen and an IV because the baby had an deceleration in heart rate. At that moment I broke down in tears. How could this be happening? But the nurses reassured me saying that everything was going to be ok because it was only a 3-minute slow down in heart rate.

After waiting for 4 hours, the doctor finally came in. He advised us that he was concerned about the lack of fetal movement and the 3 minute drop in heart rate. He continued to say that since I was 38 weeks at that point, there was no reason to send me back home. So he advised that being induced (the next day) would be my safest option. We prayed and trusted his judgment. And it was at that point we realized we were not leaving this hospital without a baby! I could hardly wait… until I reminded myself of the birth pains I would have to experience before.

So, the following day I was induced. I twiddled my fingers and slept for half the day with no progress. Even though I had contractions 3-5 minutes apart, I felt nothing. The nurses kept asking, “did you feel that one?” And I always responded, “nope.” I almost started to think this would be a piece of cake, ha!

Once again, the doctor came in, to check the progress and with only being 0.5cm dilated, he decided to stop the induction, and start again the following day.

At 2 am the next morning I was induced. I didn’t have many expectations for this day either, but boy was I wrong…

I started feeling different. My contractions started to get closer, but I still didn’t feel much pain. I was a little confused? So my husband (who was sleeping on the pull-out hospital couch beside me) woke up and decided to go home quickly to grab a few more last minute things, and freshen up. I didn’t think anything would change any time soon, so I didn’t mind. Ummm, nope! One hour after he left I started feeling excruciating pain! It was as if someone pricked me with needles all of a sudden. Every moment was unbearable, and then…water. Lots of water. Everywhere. I quickly called for the nurse in a panic! She hurried over and confirmed that my water broke. And at that time, I gave in and wanted the epidural. The anesthesiologist was there within 10 minutes. I had no regrets getting the epi ’cause the pain was getting worse and worse with every contraction. And where was my husband?  Taking his time of course, not thinking it would happen this quickly. He wasn’t there to witness any of this, but was around for all the waiting time, funny how life works, huh? He was well on his way after I sent him a few messages with caps locks, ha! He felt really bad, but I was so happy to have him there with me again. My legs started to get numb instantly (which was a terrible feeling), and I started dilating about 1 cm every hour. This was happening!

Finally, it was time to push. The epidural was administered, I had my husband by my side, and I was excited to meet this baby!

But one hour passed, and nothing. Two hours passed, and the baby barely moved. By 2.5 hours, I started experiencing excruciating back pain! I can’t describe this pain, all I can say is that it was worse than any of my contractions, I felt every ache and with every push, it only got worse. After 4 hours of pushing I was done. I threw up a few times, cried out of back pain, and had no more physical strength in my body. It was at that moment the Doctor determined that the baby was occipito-posterior (OP) position. Meaning, the baby is head down but facing the wrong way–the stomach. This was the reason for prolonged delivery and the severe back pain I experienced. The doctor made it clear there was no way I was delivering this baby naturally. It was like trying to, “fit a square pig through a round hole,” in his own words lol. The nurses began preparing me for a c-section. I sure didn’t mind at that point. I finally understood the meaning of exhaustion.

A minute later, they quickly put me on a mobile bed and rushed me to the operating room. This is when the extreme anxiety kicked in. This room was set up like a scene from Grey’s Anatomy. Everyone was moving quickly, and quietly to prepare everything for the surgery. And all I could think of was PAIN! My lower back was still in agony. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted a higher dose, and I screamed YES! My whole body was shaking (to what seemed like a seizure to me) from all the medication. I couldn’t help but think when all of this would be over. Never was I in such distress. Then they began. The Doctor, scalpel in hand, began cutting my stomach open. I screamed out, “I can feel that!!!!”. The anesthesiologist immediately increased the dose, and in seconds I was sleepier than sleepy. Then all the beeping noises and my husband’s supportive words became faint sounds…and I began drifting into a state of an unknown with weird dreams. I actually thought I was dead. The pain was gone, but the dreams were so vivid…but I was just in a very deep anesthesia-induced sleep!

From what I recall, suddenly (which felt like 10 seconds to me), I was awakened to monitors beeping, and a baby’s cry. I was so drowsy from the heavy sedation I could barely keep my eyes open. My body shaking. What was going on? What happened? Where is my baby? Was all I could think of. Until I started crying out, “My baby? Where is my baby?” And there she was. In my husband’s arms, as he gently passed her to me. This little human who was in me was finally in this world. I so badly wanted to be fully awake for this moment, and the moment that I missed when she was delivered, that I couldn’t hold back the tears. As my husband and the nurse tried to comfort me, they placed my little Evalyn on my chest (I needed support because my body was shaking from the meds) all I could recall was tears of joy, and the repetition of, “my baby, oh my baby.” She immediately latched on to feed, as if she already knew I was her source of nourishment and warmth. It was in that moment that I forgot all my troubles. All the agony of that traumatic experience vanished. It was worth it. She was worth it.

Moments later the doctor confirmed his initial suspicion; that she was indeed OP positioned, and because she was, the baby’s head simply did not fit into the birth canal…and very rarely can a woman actually deliver an OP-positioned baby naturally. When the baby is faced upward (posterior), the mother is forced to push the biggest circumference of the baby’s head through her canal. And because the top of the head enters the pelvis first, the head of the baby is the largest at that point and is extremely difficult to push through. Trying to do so with the help of birthing assistance devices like a vacuum, or tongs, would have lead to severe complications to the baby: internal bleeding, brain damage, and more due to the force applied to the baby’s tender head. Back to the story…As I look at my sweet Evalyn and think of all those possible factors, I can’t help but tear up knowing all of the “what-ifs ” and “could haves” that could have happened. And seeing how perfect every feature and part of her body is leaves me amazed. The Lord preserved and protected her. He answered our prayers and kept her safe. My heart rejoices in knowing that, and seeing the miracle of life right before my eyes, from my own body. This whole process, the wonder of procreation, so normal and natural, yet miraculous nonetheless unfolded little by little. From conception–to nine months of pregnancy–to labor–to May 13, 2017, to birth. And now I have this little human in my arms to hold...my heart is so full. 

P.S. Thank you for all of you who prayed for us at the time. Although it was a traumatic experience, I felt peace and comfort in a time of distress. 

I.P. XO

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