What are You Worth?

My kids are sick… both of them, but especially Lily. She’s got a chest infection and is on antibiotics and an inhaler. Last night as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to her cough, I was just overcome with how much I wanted to just take it away from her. I would take the cough and sniffles in a heart beat for her. That’s how much I love and value her, that’s how much she’s worth to me. What are you worth?

I was at church a few weeks ago, and the worship leader was talking about what our value is. Value is usually determined by how much someone is willing pay for an item. There are somethings I’ll spend a little more money on (I’m usually pretty frugal) because I value them more. Like I said, I highly value my daughter, my family in general. I would do anything for them. So, what are you worth?

Ultimate Sacrifice

You are worth so much, Christ paid His life for you!! His actual, physical life. And not just any death, a humiliating death on the cross. He literally took our place and gave his life for us. That’s how much you are worth to Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8

When Lily was born (check out her preemie story here) I was struck by just how big of a sacrifice this is. There I was, lying naked for all to see. I had my arms stretched out for IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. I was literally about to sacrifice my body for my daughter. In the next couple minutes they would start cutting me open to get my daughter out and save both of our lives. I know, it’s not an exact analogy, but that’s what was going on in my head as I was laying there. This was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for someone.

And Christ’s sacrifice for us is so much more! I hope and pray you know how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. I pray that He is the one you look to when you are trying to figure out what your worth is. If you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling like you can’t keep up or live up to expectations, remember your worth! Remember what Christ paid for you and live in light of that! You are so loved and treasured.

Moving Forward

I wonder what our lives would look like if we really believed how much we are worth. We can have so much confidence and self worth in Christ. If we knew or understood how much Christ paid for us, I think we would all just live in so much more joy and happiness and thanksgiving! I want to live like that! And I can because of Christ’s sacrifice!

"Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living." Job 28:13

What are your thoughts on this? How do you think your life would look if you truly knew how much Christ thinks you are worth and valued? Would it look different?

What are You Worth?
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Overcoming Mom Guilt

This is the time of year my “Mom Guilt” kicks into high gear. It’s almost Lily’s birthday, she’ll be 4 next week. I still can’t believe that, but it’s true! You can read all about her miracle birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle. Each year, I feel like I’m getting better at overcoming mom guilt that I feel this time of year.

Picture of me holding my preemie miracle in Overcoming Mom Guilt
First time holding my precious baby girl!

Lily’s Birth

4 days before Lily was born, I was in the ER with severe upper right abdominal pain. It was my third time in the ER in the 6 and a half months I was pregnant. I had gallstones and the way Lily was sitting in my tummy was causing them to be pushed out. Talk about pain! I was 13 weeks pregnant when it first happened and I was sure I was miscarrying. The pain was unimaginable. Thankfully it was just gallstones and not the baby!

Anyway, when I got to the ER that third time, they did the standard tests of temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. My blood pressure was through the roof… I remember seeing 184/something. When I was in at 19 weeks, the nurses had told me that after 20 weeks any woman who comes into the ER with stomach pain automatically gets sent up to the maternity ward. Even though I was almost 29 weeks, I was not. I was kept in the ER. That was my first mistake.

I knew they had said that to me on my last visit, but everyone just kept putting my high blood pressure off as being from the pain. I should have pushed to go up to the maternity ward. Both of my sisters also had early deliveries due to preeclampsia (Don’t know what Preeclampsia is? Read my post: What is Preeclampsia?) Not 11 weeks early, but still early. I should have known better knowing the symptoms of preeclampsia. I wasn’t having some of the more common symptoms, such as headache and vision problems, so I guess I just ignored it.

The “What ifs” of Overcoming Mom Guilt

There are so many “what ifs” that run through my head! What if my preeclampsia was caught earlier? Would they have been able to keep Lily in longer? What if I didn’t have a routine prenatal appointment 4 days later when it was finally caught? What if I had a seizure or a stroke? I was at home by myself for those 4 days. Anything could have happened in those hours Pete was at work. What if, what if, what if…

Woman with head in her hands with heading Overcoming Mom Guilt

What if’s cause guilt. We second guess what we did. We think of all the ways we could have done things better. We strive to be perfectionists (at least I do!) and when something doesn’t go perfectly as planned, we heap on the guilt. I believe we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We need to learn to have some compassion for ourselves as well.

So, how do we overcome Mom Guilt? Thanksgiving.

I am Grateful printed on heart in Overcoming Mom Guilt

Thanksgiving overcomes Mom Guilt

I am thankful Lily is a lively, active, smart and challenging. She is a completely typical 4-year-old! Thankfully nothing happened in those 4 days between when I was in the ER and when Lily was born. Thankfully I had that doctors appointment set up already four days later. I am thankful for Lily’s safe delivery as well as for my safety that day.

I am thankful for our time in the NICU, I really am. It’s not how I would have planned things to go, but we were so blessed by our time there by seeing our family and friends come around and support us. We felt God right there with us. We were completely confident He would provide for us no matter what the outcome was.

Ours was the best possible outcome, but I know there are others who do not get that. But there is always something to be thankful for. There is always something other than guilt that we can focus on and be thankful for; even if it is just the fact that God is walking through this time in our life with us. He will never leave us or forsake us and for this reason, we can be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So, if you are feeling Mom guilt today, think about all the things you are thankful for. Write them down! Start a gratitude journal! Tell them to someone! Tell them to God! The more we are thankful for, the less we feel guilty for. Overcoming Mom Guilt is possible!

Reflections of a NICU Mom

September is NICU awareness month. Before I had Lily I had only heard of a few people who had spent time in the NICU with their babies. But you never fully understand it until you go through it yourself. Its hard to explain the roller coaster of emotions that you go through when you’re there. Its a real contradiction; you’re excited yet terrified, happy yet sad, heartbroken yet thankful. Looking back now almost 4 years later, I still don’t know if I’ve fully come to terms with what happened. But here are some of my reflections of being a NICU Mom.

My little angel in her incubator in Reflections of a NICU Mom

Reflections of a NICU Mom

The birth of your child is supposed to be an exciting time for everyone. When you are told your baby is going to be born prematurely, everything changes. We weren’t ready for her to come, emotionally or physically. We had literally just gotten her crib the day before she was born. It wasn’t even put together yet. Her nursery was no where near being done. I was supposed to have another 3 months to get ready. But she was coming whether we wanted to or not. We were both in danger, so she had to come out then (read my post about our Preemie Miracle ) 

My husband and I with our daughter in reflections of a NICU Mom

NICU Mourning Period

I missed out on a lot of things I thought I would experience when having a baby. Like missing out on labour and having a “normal” vaginal birth. I didn’t even get to be the first one to see Lily. Multiple doctors and nurses met her before I did. My husband saw her and spent time with her before I did. Even my parents and my sister could go and visit her before I was allowed out of the maternity ward. It was tough. Those are all things I would say I needed to grieve during our time in the NICU. It’s OK to mourn things not going the way you expected, as long as you don’t let the grief take over. I think it’s an important part of the healing process.

Starting the Healing Process

You see, it’s not just the baby who needs help, support and healing… it’s the parents too. Of course the baby is the primary focus, but our emotional health as new parents is important to. You can’t be a good parent if you can’t take care of yourself first. I had to learn this the hard way by leaving my daughter at the hospital overnight to go home and get a shower and a good nights sleep in my own bed. It was heart wrenching to leave her there. I had to learn this by taking the time to go for a walk or get a tea to drink even though my Mom guilt made me think I needed to be in Lily’s room 24/7.

The only way I was able to do this was that I knew she had the BEST care possible. She was exactly where she needed to be. We had the most well equipped baby sitters ever, our NICU nurses and doctors. I can’t even begin to express the appreciation I have for these women and men. They would leave their families for 12-24 hours at a time to come and take care of my baby, would talk me through all the medical jargon and explain to me in plain English what was going on and what the plan for her was; they explained all the beeps and lights on the machines Lily was hooked up to, they made me feel like a person… a normal person. Not just a zombie who was going through the motions (even though I felt like it at times!)

Finally Feeling like a NICU Mom

To be honest, I didn’t really feel like a real mother until Lily started breast feeding around 2 months old. I pumped religiously before that so she could still have my milk, but there was so little else I felt like I could do. The nurses let us change her diaper in the isolette and we bathed her, but that’s about all we could do other than cuddling her (I sure did enjoy the snuggles though! She does not like to cuddle anymore… maybe I used them all up while she was in the hospital). When I finally got to nurse her it was something only I could do for her. No one else, only me… her Mother. It is one of my most special memories, something I cherish as my reflections of a NICU Mom.

Me holding my preemie in Reflections of a NICU Mom

Peace that Passes Understanding

The whole time we were there, even the day she was born, I was scared but I had this deep sense of peace. I knew that no matter what happened, we would be OK. We would just deal with whatever our new normal was. Whether she needs glasses from being a preemie, or is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, or needs heart surgery because of the hole in her heart… all I can say is I know God was with us walking every step of the way in our NICU journey. That’s the only explanation I can come up with!

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Phillippians 4:7

xoxo

Caroline

My preemie baby with reflections of a NICU Mom

Read more related articles about our NICU journey:

A Day in the Life of a NICU Momma

Must Haves for Bringing Home a Preemie

Getting through a NICU stay

My Preemie Miracle

What is Preeclampsia

3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler

It’s been a long, hot, smokey summer here in BC. Our province has literally been on fire and the smoke has basically taken over. I’ve lived in BC pretty much all of my 36 years and I have NEVER experienced smokey air like this. For those of you with toddlers, you know what staying inside for multiple days means… lots of whining, arguing and tantrums. But, through this experience, I have learned there are 3 words to use to stop arguing with your toddler.

Forced to Stay Indoors

The air quality has been so bad, we’ve been forced to stay inside on many occasions. I’m still a little cautious with Lily’s lungs because of her being so premature (read that story here ) She’s at a higher risk for asthma and other breathing problems because she was born with underdeveloped lungs.

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler. Image of smoky Vancouver An Image of Vancouver in the smoke from CTV News Vancouver (https://bc.ctvnews.ca/dramatic-difference-vancouver-skyline-transformed-by-smoke-1.2456182)

My girls need to burn (bad word choice, no pun intended) off energy and they LOVE being outside. There’s only so much energy they can burn off while playing inside. There’s less room, so they’re in each others space more, which leads to more arguing. It’s an endless cycle some days.

Bedtime is the worst here in our house. The girls still have pent up energy and try to get it all out before going to sleep. Getting them ready for bed is exhausting. I started to feel like I was just yelling at them all the time and they didn’t listen anyway. I’d end up with 2 streakers running down the hallway while I threatened “don’t make me get Daddy up here!!” Some nights Pete would just have it with the screaming and arguing and talking back he’d come up anyway. They usually smarten up a bit when Daddy’s around.

One night I was at my wits end! We’d been stuck inside for 2 or 3 days. Our only outings had been grocery shopping and to PetSmart to get them out and see the fish (they love the fish!) I was on the floor, close to tears, after fighting with them for what seemed like FOREVER over which pajamas to wear and then actually putting those pajamas on. They just would not listen.

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler, angry child

The 3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler

I couldn’t help but think to myself “this is not working…” I took a moment just to take a breath and regain some composure. Then I looked at Lily and I said “Hey Lily, you know what? I LOVE YOU!” Then I looked at Maggie and said “Hey Maggie, you know what? I LOVE YOU!” I think they were a little shocked at first! I brought them both over for a little hug and snuggle and from them on, the whole getting ready for bed routine went a lot smoother.

I don’t know if it was me taking a moment to gather myself and remind myself that I love them, or if it was me reminding them that I love them. Maybe I’d been yelling too much for too long and they’d tuned me out. But those 3 simple words made such a difference to our night. I’ve tried it a couple other times when we’re having a tough time dealing with big emotions.

Rather than yelling or getting upset, I stop and tell them I love them. It doesn’t mean they don’t get a time out or have to say sorry for their actions. There are still consequences. But it really just resets the whole situation. It reminds them that I am doing this because I love them, not out of spite, or being mean or just because I feel like it.

I Love Them

I love them and I want them to know right from wrong, and I want them to learn to be kind to each other and others. I love them and I want them to know whining is not going to get them what they want in life and that sometimes they’re going to have to work really hard to get what they want. Again, I love them and I want them to be able to share with others and make friends. I love them and I want them to learn to be responsible and work hard at whatever tasks they are given.

What are some ways you deal with whinny, overtired toddlers? How do you and your family cope with big emotions and tantrums?

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler. I love you

Related article:Loving discipline

Typical NICU day~ A day in the life of a NICU Momma

I know everyone’s experience in the NICU is very different, but I wanted to share what a typical day looked like for us. These were the days when Lily didn’t have any specialist appointments or procedures scheduled. We were very thankful to live only about 5 minutes from the hospital she was at so we could get there quickly if needed. I was also able to go home at night and get a somewhat decent sleep (other than getting up every 3 hours to pump! Not fun!!) So, here’s what a day normally looked like:

8-9am ~ Arrive at hospital to be in time for rounds. Some days rounds would take forever, depending where they decided to start on the ward and how many really sick babies there were in the NICU at the time. New babies would also take a bit longer. So some days rounds were right at 9, other days they wouldn’t get to us until the afternoon. I would miss rounds some days, but I really tried my best to be there so I could hear first hand what the plans etc. were for Lily. I liked to be able to talk to the Doctors. They were really good at explaining treatments and care plans to us. The nurses were also great for translating some things into plain English!! (I learned a lot of new medical terminology during our hospital stay! Ask me what Periventricular Leukomalacia is)

 

8am ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump/cuddle time!! I’d cuddle with Lily for as long as possible. Usually a few hours. This was my happy place <3

Snuggling my little princess

11am ~ Repeat!

12pm ~ Lunch time. I’d go have lunch at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Surrey Memorial Hospital most days. That place was a God send!! It was so nice to chat with other parents who were there. We could all relate to what the other families were going through! It was a nice little “break” from the hospital. I’ve been so blessed to have maintained friendships with some of the parents I met there.

1pm ~ Run home to walk the dog. Do a few things at home, mostly getting the nursery ready! Or shop for Christmas presents (Lily was born in October, but in the hospital until December ~ here’s her story) The odd day I’d get in a nap, but that didn’t happen often. I would usually miss the 2pm feeding time for Lily, but the nurses would always take care of that. They either did the tube feed when she still had her NG (nasogastric- tube from nose to stomach) tube in or give her a bottle when she was able to take oral feeds. Even when I started breast feeding, Lily would take a bottle, so that was kind of nice. Especially when we got home and my husband could take some feeds!

3pm ~ Hubby, Pete, would get home from work and shower quickly.

4pm ~ We’d usually get back to the hospital around 4pm. Pete would often get his cuddle time in then. He worked super early, so he found if he waited until after supper to have his cuddles, he’d be so tired he didn’t enjoy it as much.

5pm ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump. Pete would go to Ronald McDonald house and get our dinner ready. I am so thankful for a husband who cooks and so grateful for all the people who provided us with meals while Lily was in the hospital. We had a steady stream of meals from friends, family and our church. It was so great to have one less thing to think of.

6pm ~ Eat dinner. We’d usually try to be back in Lily’s room around 7pm

8pm ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump. Quite often I would cuddle Lily again for a while.

9pm ~ Head for home. 4am wake up comes early for Pete!

So, I was usually at the hospital for over 12 hours. Once Lily started breast feeding on demand I stayed overnight in her room at the hospital (all the rooms in our NICU were private), there was a couch that pulled out into a bed. It was actually decently comfortable too! I did that for probably the last 3 weeks before she came home.

I thought that being in the hospital I would have all this free time, like I’d be able to crochet and read. People would bring me magazines, but I hardly got around to touching them. Seriously, living on a 3 hour feeding schedule, plus having to pump after each feed, I had very little free time! A whole feeding/pumping session would take over an hour. Then we had to do it again 2 hours later! I got so used to this schedule, it’s like I did it in my sleep some days (and I probably did some days I was so tired!)

Octopuses for Preemies

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We all know skin to skin, the smell and sound of mommy and even white noise like a heart beat can make baby feel safer once they reach the outside world. Recently, they have done research that discovered that tentacles of crochet octopuses for preemies made babies feel safer as well. They reminded the baby of the umbilical cord they played with in the womb. A group in Denmark, Spruttegruppen, started a group that started making these octopuses and sending them to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU’s) all over their country.

Their idea has spread! There are approximately 31 countries participating in this amazing cause now. When these octopuses are donated to NICU’s, it’s highly recommended to go to the Facebook group for that country to ensure the octopus is made up to standard. These are sick little babies after all, so some care and precaution definitely needs to be taken. I know when Lily was in the NICU I didn’t want to put anything in her bed with her, so if I was going to, I’d want to know if was safe first! (you can read about Lily’s story here)

Here’s a list of all the Octopus for a Preemie project countries and their websites. The pattern is actually really easy. I can usually make one in a couple hours (I like to crochet while watching hockey with my husband and I can finish one in a game and a half!)

This little guy went to a good friend’s baby

I love crocheting, so I started making these little guys for friends and family who were having little ones. Then I started getting orders from people! I’ve donated to babies in the NICU, and I’ve been able to sell them too. They aren’t just great for preemies, they’re good for any newborn and toddlers love them as well. I made 2 for my daughters for their Easter baskets and they were so excited! You can take a look at my Facebook page LilyMags & Co for more information.

love,

Caroline

 

You can find more similar patters here at Craftsy.

What is Preeclampsia?

I learned something new today… yesterday was World Preeclampsia Awareness Day! I wish I had known about it yesterday. This is a cause very dear to my heart and life. Both of my older sisters had preeclampsia in their pregnancies. My nieces were born about 4 weeks early because of it. I knew I was at a high risk, and was closely monitored throughout my pregnancies. I developed it in my first pregnancy at 29 weeks and had to give birth to my daughter via c-section that night as we were both in serious danger (you can read Lily’s amazing story here). My second pregnancy we made it to 35 weeks before running into problems again!

SO, WHAT IS PREECLAMPSIA?

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation Canada website (http://www.preeclampsiacanada.ca/) preeclampsia is:

“a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.

Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy) and up to six weeks postpartum (after delivery), though in rare cases it can occur earlier than 20 weeks. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia.”

I was one of the ones who had few symptoms. I had noticed some spots of light in my vision, but it wasn’t too bad. Knowing I had an appointment with my doctor coming up, I just waited. When we look at pictures from just before Lily’s birth, you can definitely see that I’m looking a little swollen. But that’s not something you really notice looking at yourself in the mirror day to day. Obviously, looking back, I probably should have gone in earlier, but hindsight is 20/20, right? Thankfully we have our 2 healthy, happy girls.

Lily in the NICU

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • High blood pressure
  • Highs levels of protein in the urine
  • Very severe headaches
  • Blurring in vision (or any alteration)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upper right side abdominal pain
  • Sudden onset of swelling or weight gain
  • Less urination than usual

Here is a great graphic from the Preeclampsia Foundation Canada that goes into more detail.

If you want more information, or have any questions, please feel free to send me a message or drop a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can. There is a lot more information on the Preeclampsia Foundation Canada (http://www.preeclampsiacanada.ca/). You can also donate to some of their life-saving research.

Here is their mandate:

  • Educate, support and empower women – and their friends and loved ones – on the warning signs, long term consequences and medical understanding, including their need to get timely care.
  • Increase public awareness.
  • Fund research in Canada.

Here is what they do with monies donated (You can donate directly through this link)

 

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My Preemie Miracle

This is the incredible story of my preemie miracle (I may or may not be a little biased!)

Not today, God, please not today!

This is what was going through my head on the afternoon of October 16, 2014. Here I was lying in a hospital bed at Langley Memorial hospital hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, IV and a catheter.

I had gone in for a scheduled prenatal visit with my Doctor that morning at 10:30am. But something wasn’t right. The nurse took my blood pressure twice and told me it was a little on the high side so she’d get the doctor to take another look at it. When he came in, he took my blood pressure again; it was high and they’d found protein in my urine. He sent me to the hospital for further tests. It didn’t really worry me too much.

So, I phoned my husband and told him not to come, it was just a couple tests and I’d call him if anything changed. They got me in pretty quickly and hooked me up to all the monitors. The OB came in and started telling me about preeclampsia and premature birth. We were only 29 weeks pregnant! It was completely shocking! I called my husband and said “You need to come now.”

By this time, magnesium was coursing through my veins to prevent having a seizure (risk of preeclampsia). They had started me on blood pressure medication to try getting my blood pressure down and gave me a steroid shot to help develop baby’s lungs in case she needed to be delivered that day.  A transfer was being set up for me as Langley was not equipped to handle such a premature birth.

At about 3:00pm that afternoon, they arranged a transfer by ambulance to Surrey Memorial hospital who had a bigger NICU. I saw countless doctors and was under 24 hour surveillance by a nurse to make sure I didn’t seize. We had no idea what to expect. What’s the survival rate of a 29 week baby? Does she have to be born today? Finally, a Neonatologist come in to talk to us. She had one of her own kids at 30 weeks. It was so comforting to hear her tell us about how her daughter is thriving now. She told us there was about a 95% survival rate at 29 weeks. To have her talk to us as both a doctor and a mother who had been through exactly what we were going through was a big relief. Our baby was going to be born that night.

They prepped me for surgery and wheeled me into the operating room. I don’t even know how many nurses and doctors were in the room. Pete and I knew next to nothing about C-sections. It was one of the scariest moments of our lives. The epidural terrified me, but the anesthesiologist told me it wasn’t much worse than getting an IV. He lied, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I expected. My husband was escorted into the room as I started to lose feeling in my body. Having a C-section is the most surreal experience! I felt pulling and the doctors moving things around, but no pain. I also felt the most unconditional love I have ever felt in my life. Here I was, literally giving myself up for my daughter. There is no greater love than that!

See my post 5 tips for C-section Momma’s for some great recovery tips after having a C-section.

At 11:38pm our beautiful baby girl, Lily Ann Hultgren, came into this world and whisked away with the neonatal team. She weighed only 991 grams (2lbs 3oz). My husband went with her to the NICU; I wouldn’t be able to meet her until 24 hours later as I was still on the Magnesium and needed to be under a nurse’s watchful eye. I finally met Lily the next night around midnight. She was so tiny and precious; I was scared to even touch her, I thought for sure she would break!

They warned us the NICU would be a roller coaster ride and they were right! We had many ups; first time holding her, first bath, first experience breast feeding. And we had some pretty big downs as well. One night Lily stopped breathing completely and all the doctors and nurses were called in to come help her. Again, a true miracle she survived. They still don’t know what happened.

Looking back, none of this could have been done without the support of all the staff in the NICU. They are truly miracle workers!

We took Lily home on Christmas Eve 2014 after 69 long days in hospital. It was the best Christmas present we could have ever received, truly my preemie miracle!

My beautiful preemie miracle is now 3 1/2 years old!
My beautiful baby girl now at 3 1/2 years old

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5 Tips for C-Section Momma’s

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Looking for some tips for c-section Momma’s? Whether it’s for yourself or someone you know, I have 5 tips for c-section Momma’s to help you heal quickly and healthy in order to be the best Mom for your baby.

A very good childhood friend of mine had her first baby a few days ago. She ended up having a c-section after 3 courageous hours of pushing. It took me right back to the days of my 2 c-sections. I remember laying there on the table, not knowing quite what to expect, scared and excited all at the same time. My 2 cesareans were very different, the first was an emergency at 29 weeks and the second was much more expected as we had one scheduled (she still decided to come 3 weeks early though!)

Anyway… here are my 5 Tips for C-section Momma’s:

Top 5 Tips for C-section Momma's

1.Listen to your body/Don’t push it: 

As I said, my 2 c-sections were very different and I recovered from them very differently. Lily was hard and it took me a long time to recover. The whole thing was traumatizing as she was 11 weeks early and we didn’t know what would happen with our baby, if she’d be healthy or even survive. I really had to take my time recovering, I was in a lot of pain and my hubby pushed me around the hospital in a wheelchair for probably 10 days after. With Maggie, I bounced back WAY quicker. I thought it would be harder as I had a toddler to care for too now, and we have a billion stairs in our house, but I just listened to the way my body felt and I was lifting my toddler within a couple days of having my second.

2. Ask for and Accept help:

This is a hard one for most of us. We all want to be considered super-mom even though we’ve just had a baby and gone through major surgery. I had to swallow some of that pride and accept a lot of help, especially when Lily was in the hospital. I couldn’t drive for a few weeks, so I had to ask for rides to the hospital. My Aunt and my Mom cleaned my apartment before we were bringing Lily home. Our church community and friends brought us meals to eat at the hospital (we were beyond blessed by the Ronald McDonald family room at Surrey Memorial Hospital). My husband was actually between jobs when Maggie was born, so he helped A LOT. He pretty much did everything with Lily the first few weeks, so I could concentrate on taking care of Maggie. Don’t let your pride get in the way!

3. Keep your Follow-up Appointments

I know… you’ve had your baby and everything is done now (besides raising him or her to become a decent adult!) Wrong! There’s a reason follow up appointments are scheduled, especially after c-sections. There’s the risk of infection at the incision site. And did you know there’s something called postpartum preeclampsia (I had preeclampsia before Lily was born which is why she came so early… read her story here ) With preeclampsia, your blood pressure goes way up and your organs, starting with your kidneys start shutting down (you can read more about it in my post What is Preeclampsia). You are at a real risk of seizures. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but if you have that you probably would want to get it checked out.

4. SLEEP

You know what they say… sleep when the baby is sleeping. Well, do it! Our body does a lot of healing when we’re at rest. If you have other kids running around, ask for someone to watch them for a while so you can rest (see #2). Again, I was so lucky Pete was home after we had Maggie. I pretty much slept whenever she did (she was a horrible sleeper, so I took whatever I could get!)

In the NICU with Lily, the nurses encouraged me to go home and sleep in my own bed. Leaving your baby behind at the hospital is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and I wanted so badly to stay with her 24/7, but they were right. Even though I was up at home every 3 hours to pump, I got a much better sleep in my own bed then I would have on the couch in Lily’s hospital room.

5. Enjoy all the Newborn Snuggles

Seriously, who doesn’t love the smell of newborns?!? They are just so tiny and yummy! The only reason I want another baby is to smell that smell and have all the snuggles! No more babies here though… I just have to steal other people’s! The NICU encourages lots of skin to skin with your baby as studies have shown it to help improve the outcomes of premature babies. I don’t know if there are any studies on it, but I think it helps the Momma heal as well! It’s good for your soul.

I just want to end off by saying, you are no less of a mother because you had a C-section. I know there is a grieving period when your birthing plan does not go as planned (does it ever?) but, you did what was best for your baby and that is what being a Momma is all about. You sacrificed your body to be cut open for your little one to be born. How does that make you any less or a warrior mom?

Love,

  Caroline

 

 

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