December 31, 2016

Our Birth Story

On December 24, 2016, our baby girl decided she was ready to enter the world! What I thought were Braxton hicks on the night of December 23, turned out to be real contractions, but because they didn't bother me, I went to bed not expecting to wake up around 2 AM to some intense contractions.

I ended up waking my husband around 3 AM when I noticed they weren't going away. Around 4 AM We agreed it was time to call the doctor. The doctor said it sounded like I was in early labor, but to give it an hour to see if the contractions continued or would come to an end. They only got more intense and closer together, so we decided to head to the hospital at 5 AM. We decided it was better to be safe and if we got sent home, it wasn't the end of the world.

When we arrived, It turned out I was already 6 cm dilated! The pain got even worse and the nitrous oxide gas was not working (not sure what happened here, but we weren't confident that the nurse actually had it working right), so I requested pain relief through an IV, but that didn't work either. I broke down and wanted an epidural, but by the time the epidural was ready, I only had 5 more minutes to wait for the midwife to arrive, so I chose to skip it at that point. I am actually glad that they took so long because I originally didn't want an epidural and caved due to the pain.

When the midwife arrived, I was ready to push and 10 minutes later, our baby girl entered the world! I only suffered a 2nd-degree tear.

I had a really fast labor, which was unexpected, especially since this was our first child. She also was a week early, which most first born are late! My midwife almost didn't make it in time, but so glad she did!

 Our Doula also wrote this lovely birth story for us:
"It began around ten o’clock at night on Friday, December 23, 2016. Mom began having mild contractions. She thought these were nothing to worry about, and after relaxing for awhile, she decided to go to bed. Mom never suspected that she would soon meet her sweet baby girl.

Around 2am, Mom awoke from her sleep and realized that these contractions were becoming more frequent and stronger. After a few hours, Mom and Dad agreed that it was time to call the midwife. The midwife suggested that they head to the hospital to get checked on progress. Was this labor?

With bags already packed, Mom and Dad headed out the door, hoping they would soon return home cradling their beloved baby girl. When they arrived at the hospital around 5am, they were surprised to hear that baby would be coming very soon! When the nurse checked Mom, she was already 6 cm dilated. Mom had completed her first stage of labor already—mostly while she had been sleeping!

Mom and Dad prepared themselves for the final leg of the race to meet their early Christmas gift. Dad encouraged Mom as contractions grew stronger, almost unbearable. But Mom was a warrior and endured the pain for another three hours until the time came for her to push baby out.

About eight o’clock in the morning, Mom’s water broke and she began pushing their little girl out into the world. Mom was determined to meet her quickly, and within ten minutes, Elsa entered the world. She measured a healthy 6 lbs 12 oz and stretched to 19.25 inches. Overcome with joy, Mom and Dad embraced Elsa wholeheartedly and began their new journey as a family together!"

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December 23, 2016

The Flu Shot When Pregnant

If you are going to be pregnant or give birth during the cold and flu season, you should get a flu shot and you should enforce anyone who plans to hold the baby after birth to get a flu shot as well.

Here is why you should get the flu shot when pregnant according to the CDC website:
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their developing baby, including premature labor and delivery. (source)
A common myth with the flu shot is that it gives you the flu. This is false because you are given a dead virus:
The flu vaccine injection contains no live virus, only viral proteins, said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious disease specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 
"It's impossible to get the flu, and it's impossible to spread the flu," from the injection, Cunningham said. (source)
The nasal spray on the other hand (which is NOT recommended for pregnant women), does have a live virus, but it has been weakened to the point that it can't harm you:
The flu vaccine that is delivered as a nasal spray, rather than as injection, does contain live viruses, but these viruses have been weakened, and so they also cannot cause the flu, according to the CDC. (source)
Another common myth floating around in the forums that I often see is that the flu vaccine contains mercury that is harmful, however, that isn't entirely true:
Thimerosal — a preservative that contains mercury — has never been shown to be harmful, Cunningham said. The type of mercury linked with nervous system damage is methyl mercury, he said. Concerns over methyl mercury levels have led to recommendations that pregnant women avoid eating large amounts of certain types of fish, such as swordfish. (source)
Basically, the mercury in fish is more harmful to you than the mercury in the flu shot, yet many pregnant women won't give up their seafood but will happily choose not to get the shot. I guess food is more important than health to some pregnant women.

However, for those concerned about thimerosal, you will be happy to know that not only is it safe, but you can get a flu shot that doesn't contain it:
While all vaccines carry some risk of adverse effects, such as an allergic reaction, no research has shown an increased risk of complications associated with the flu shot for pregnant women. Women can get the flu shot at any time during pregnancy. There also is no evidence that adverse effects occur in the children of women who receive vaccines with the mercury-based preservative thimerosal during pregnancy. However, it's possible to get a flu shot that doesn't contain thimerosal. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned. (source)
Not only should you get the flu shot if you are pregnant, but anyone who plans on holding baby after birth should also get the flu shot because babies can't get a flu shot until 6 months of age, so it's up to you, your family, and your friends to get the shot to prevent them from getting the flu, to help protect baby from the flu, which can have serious consequences:
Children younger than 5 years of age – especially those younger than 2 years old – are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States. Many more have to go to a doctor, an urgent care center, or the emergency room because of flu.
Complications from the flu among children in this age group can include pneumonia (an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed), dehydration (when a child's body loses too much water and salts, often from not drinking enough fluids/liquids), worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma, encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain), sinus problems and ear infections. In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death. (source)
To me, it seems silly to refuse to get the flu vaccine as all evidence points to it being completely safe and will help protect your baby. Also, as someone who has had the flu before, the shot is totally worth it. Feeling like you are going to die for two weeks is no fun, and that was with medication! I don't know how pregnant women who get the flu survive!

Sources


Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on MorgueFile.

December 18, 2016

$25 Visa GC & SmartBones Prize Pack Giveaway

Hosted By Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More, Queen of Reviews, Seasonal Family Fun, Michigan Savings and More and HeartBeats-Soul Stains.

And

Sponsored By SmartBones


SmartBones are the perfect alternative when you want to give your dog a treat other then a rawhide treat. Once I gave Sam these treats, He could not stop eating them. I have never saw a dog who reacted to treats just like he did. They are available in a variety of flavors and types.


Onto The Giveaway~

  • 1 READER WILL WIN A $25 Visa GC & A variety of SmartBones Dog Treats

  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS LIVE AND WILL END ON 12/31 AT 7:00 P.M.

  • WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM, NOTIFIED WITHIN 48 HOURS AND HAVE 24 HOURS TO RESPOND TO THE EMAIL TO CLAIM THEIR PRIZE OR ANOTHER WILL BE CHOSEN

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ENTER BELOW AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU~



Disclosure- The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery nor did I receive compensation. Only 1 prize per household. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.Contact Tammie at info@tpankuch.com and see how I can promote/feature your product for you.

December 16, 2016

$100 Bath and Body Works Giveaway


Welcome to the $100 Bath and Body Works Giveaway Event! 



Just in time for the holidays, this great group of bloggers wanted to partner up, to bring you one great prize! You can never go wrong with Bath and Body Works, right?!

Remember to follow this blog using the social media icons located at the top of the right side bar to keep up with the latest updates and giveaways! 



The Giveaway
One lucky winner will receive a $100 Bath and Body Works Gift Card.
Good luck everyone!
Enter with the easy form, below:



 

  Disclosure: The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil' Blog and More will be sending the prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway. This giveaway starts December 17th, 2016 , and will end on January 16th, 2017 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Open to US and Canada. 

December 9, 2016

10 Pregnancy Must Haves

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1. Extra pillows - You will often see a maternity pillow (also known as a snoogle) as a must have on many pregnancy lists. However, I decided to go with the inexpensive, regular body pillow, and am glad I didn't invest in the snoogle as it would have been a waste of money.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I found I preferred a regular pillow (often tossing my body pillow on the floor), which was way easier to move around when I decided to sleep on a different side. When I entered the 3rd trimester, the regular pillow no longer worked as it had before and I began to love my body pillow, couldn't sleep without it!

I would suggest starting with just using regular pillows or a body pillow and see how that goes before deciding if a snoogle is worth the price tag for you.
2. Maternity Swim Suit - This only applies if you enjoy swimming, but it was a must for me! I used to run before pregnancy but found it too exhausting after getting pregnant. Swimming was a nice way to get in some exercise and will come in handy if you decide to labor in a tub or do a water birth and want some more coverage on top. 

Now you may be able to get by with just your regular suit in early pregnancy, but when 12 weeks came around, my breasts would no longer fit in my swim tops. I didn't want to waste money on just getting a suit a size up when I knew I would continue to get bigger, so I bought a maternity top. It was a little loose in the beginning, but by week 16, I was glad I chose to go straight to a maternity top! I got this swim top at Destination Maternity.

Some pregnant women still rock their bikinis (if you go the bikini route, you might have to get a bigger size top to fit your growing breasts), but I prefer two pieces that cover more. 

3. Lotion - And lots of it. Your breasts and your belly will itch like crazy as they continue to grow. You will probably hear from women who swear by cocoa butter or some other cream they found that works miracles, but plain old regular lotion works just fine for soothing the skin. Find what works for you and stick to it! Also, always put lotion on after a shower or bath, that is the best time for it to soak into your skin. I highly recommend using a lotion with Aloe Vera, such as this one.

Remember, no matter what you do, you can't prevent stretch marks. If you get them, you get them, but you can help soothe them and help them fade faster by using lotion.

4. Nursing Tanks & Bras - Your breasts will grow and I found nursing tanks and bras to be the most comfortable, even if you don't plan on breastfeeding. They provide the support your breasts need while you sleep. You can find cheap nursing tanks at Old Navy and Target.

My favorite nursing tank is the Rosie Pope brand. I found it on a whim at a discount store, but they only had one left. They are quite pricey (ranging from $34-$40 depending on retailer), but if you lucky, Amazon sometimes has them on sale for half the price! I snagged a couple when they were only $17! Otherwise, you can find them online at their website, or at Nordstrom or Von Maur. They are super soft, wash well, and I so totally plan on wearing them after nursing or even if I don't breastfeed! If you plan on wearing them during your pregnancy, go a size up to cover the belly.

My favorite nursing bra is the Bravado Basic Nursing Sleep Bra, which I found at Target, but have recently noticed that it is no longer online or being carried in stores in my area. The Medela Nursing Sleep Bra would be the closest thing to it, but it is not as comfortable as the Bravado Basic in my opinion. However, it is the next best thing if you are unable to find the Bravado Basic in your area.

Also, if you are like me and do prefer to wear a padded bra in public, you will either want to splurge on a few maternity bras, or be prepared to possibly buy bras in several different sizes as your breasts grow (this is when the clearance section at Target and Kohls comes in handy).

5. Squatty Potty - During pregnancy, many women experience constipation and other bathroom problems. A Squatty Potty may seem silly, but it is definitely worth having, pregnant or not pregnant, as it forces you to squat while on the toilet, which is the proper way our bodies were made to relieve themselves. This makes bowel movements a lot easier and will also help prevent hernias and internal tears.

You can also use a stool or stack of magazines/books to lift your legs to get the same effect, but the nice thing about the Squatty Potty is that it wraps around your toilet so it takes up less space, and is easier to store and take out when needed versus having to stack magazines every time.

6. Maternity Coat - If you are going to be pregnant during the winter, a coat is a must. Someone told me to hold off because I might not need one since she found she was always hot and could get by with sweatshirts. Well, the temperature began to get chilly in October and I found myself freezing in my jackets, so I broke down and bought one, so if you find that you don't get frequent hot flashes. you will want a coat.

Just be prepared that this will be the most expensive thing you have to buy, so if possible look for a good sale or find a used one! Thank goodness I work in retail so I could get half off! A lot of stores have 60-90 day return policies too, so you can always buy ahead of time if you find a good deal and if you end up not wearing the coat, then return it after the winter season. Just be sure to keep your receipt!

7. Maternity Jeans/Leggings  Skip the belly bands and go straight to a nice comfy pair of maternity jeans or leggings, or both! I got a couple of bands and did not like them at all, they were just too uncomfortable for me. Luckily I worked in retail so could get half off on the majority of my maternity items, but for those who don't and need a good deal, Old Navy has great maternity leggings and always look in the clearance, you can find a great deal on maternity jeans there.

If not Old Navy, go to Motherhood or Destination Maternity and look in their clearance. I managed to score a pair of jeans for $14 there and a couple of leggings for $7 each! Go when there is an additional half off on clearance! The leggings are my favorite thing to wear, so if you can't find a cheap pair of jeans, at least get leggings, they are so comfy! Tip: Fleece lined leggings are the best for winter.

8. Epsom Salt - Pregnancy comes with many aches and pains, unfortunately, and the best cure is a warm Epsom salt bath! I found this to work better than Tylenol. Plus it's relaxing!

If you don't have a bathtub, you can easily get a dish tub or bucket of warm water and mix in some Epsom salt to soak your feet, but unfortunately, it would be tricky to soak anything higher up like your thighs without a bathtub.

9. Sugar Scrub - When my breasts started growing, the old, dry, dead skin would begin to flake off and cause them to itch. I found using a sugar scrub once a week to exfoliate my breasts helped remove that dead skin faster and make my breasts softer, and less itchy. You will want to put lotion on after doing a sugar scrub and limit it to once a week to prevent rubbing them raw! My favorite sugar scrub is Mayfair - Sea Lily Jasmine scent, which can be found at Target.

10. Liners - During pregnancy, you will notice an increase in discharge (cervical mucus). It is the same as when you ovulate. The further along in pregnancy, the more discharge. I found the third trimester to be the worst for me. You will discover that you will want to wear liners or find yourself changing your underwear a few times a day.

The only time you have to worry about your discharge is if it is any color other than clear or white, or has a foul/fishy smell. This can be a sign of a yeast infection, which should get checked as soon as possible.

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on MorgueFile.


December 2, 2016

Falls River Soap Company Deluxe Gift Basket & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the 
Falls River Soap Company Deluxe Gift Basket & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!! 

Hosted By
Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews


Sponsored By: 
Falls River Soap Company
~1 Winner~
Open to US
12/02 (12am) to 12/16 (11:59pm)
~Prize~ 
 1 Deluxe Gift Basket 
$100 Amazon Gift Card

A special shout out to my awesome co-hosts for this event
Deliciously Savvy IMHO Views Reviews and Giveaways~ Michigan Saving and MoreInezbyDesign~ Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains~ Dorky's Deals~ Finding Sanity in our Crazy Life~  Just Happiling~ Babushka's Baile~ Your Strong Tower
Thank you to all of the bloggers promoting this giveaway. All of our giveaways are so much fun when we do it all together.

Don't want to wait for the giveaway to end? How about something until then??
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If you are looking to forever change the way you wash and experience the pleasure of the perfect bath or shower using the finest natural ingredients, it is time to discover Falls River Soap Company! Right now you can enter below for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a Deluxe Falls River Soap Gift Basket!
Falls River Soap Company is a small family owned business located in Ohio, specializing in handcrafted artisanal soaps since 2004. At Falls River Soap Company they use organic and high quality natural essential oils, herbs and botanicals sourced from all over the world to create homemade soaps the old-fashioned way, through the cold-process method of soap making.

Unlike mass-produced commercial soaps sold by those “other” companies you find in your local supermarket or drugstore, it takes a little extra time to create a Falls River Soap. The soap makers at Falls River Soap Company are busy working by hand in small batches at a low temperature and aging the soaps for up to four to six weeks to preserve the natural glycerin, producing the most luxurious, pure and gentle moisturizing soap imaginable for every skin type, scent or texture preference.

The eco-friendly natural soaps created by Falls River Soap Company do not contain harsh chemicals, animal fats or synthetic preservatives. They do not test products on animals and their handmade soaps are 100% vegetarian.
Falls River Soap Company uses earth-friendly ingredients like fresh goat milk, olive oil, shea and cocoa butter, coconut and avocado oil. Natural exfoliates include lemon peel, ground coffee and calendula petals and more.

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Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries so please check back tomorrow. Share it with your family and friends, they'll want to enter to win too!!


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