Father’s Day

Being in the military is definitely a dedication. My husband was in the field my last week of pregnancy. He got to come home “early” when I went into labor and he got 10 days of paternity leave — although there’s some up-in-the-air possible 21 days of paternity leave in the military that no one seems to be aware of or implemented yet.

He was home for about a week before he had to leave for another 2.5 weeks out in the field again. So he’s hardly gotten to spend any time with our new baby at all.

It’s especially hard, and sad, that he won’t get to spend our son’s first Father’s Day with him — thus is the life of an infantry officer, they’re basically guaranteed to deploy, so they are constantly training for deployment; which means they are never around. It definitely takes its toll on the family dynamic.

Happy Father’s Day to my hubby. He is the best provider for our family. I know that everything he does is for us. ♡

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Lucky Love

My anniversary was a few days ago. ♡

Life is a paradise
Oh, yeah!
Lucky love belongs in teenage heaven I know, I know
‘Cause I’ve been there with you tonight
I’m a prisoner of hope, I know
I believe life could be paradise once again
Close your eyes, it’s something for you
Lucky love
We are young and we are old
And your heart’s so full of soul it makes me believe
Once again, it’s something for you
Lucky love … ♡

The First Week

The hardest part of taking care of a newborn is definitely the first month, and within that, the first week… and no matter how many times you’ve done it already, it never seems to get easier.

I am fortunate though, to have such an amazing husband who has really helped along the way; he’s an amazing father to our children.

I had a failed VBAC, so I ended up with an emergency C-section, even though I was already kind of prepared for one (just in case). I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since midnight.

I figured I could hold off calling my husband who was out in the field until at least 6AM. I couldn’t get rid of my daughter until 8AM, the earliest she could arrive at school, thank God the school is right by the hospital. My in-laws made the drive down from Cincinnati late morning the day I went into labor. I ended up calling my hubby about 4AM, and he came home from the field a little before 5:30.

The three of us went to the hospital. He dropped our daughter off at school later in the morning, and we stayed together until the afternoon when he had to go pick her up. By the time my doctor decided we needed to do a C-section, thank God my in-laws had arrived, and my husband was able to come back to the hospital.

My nurse during labor and delivery was amazing. All nurses should be as caring of their patients as she is. My anesthesiologist was also incredible and so personable. I’m so thankful for such a great medical team, even though the staff was whoever was on call that day. ♡

My husband stayed with me during my entire recovery, sleeping on those awful fold-out “dad beds” that also serves as chairs. We couldn’t wait to go home after being stuck in the hospital for 3 days. He was so wonderful in helping with changing and feeding the baby. ♡

For me, I think the hardest part of the first week (aside from the pain of the incision once your drugs wear off) is breastfeeding. I was determined to at least try because I was disappointed I wasn’t able to do it with my daughter since my first C-section was infected with MRSA. With my first son, I was equally disappointed that I couldn’t master it before I gave up a few weeks later.

Thank God for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, because with my other two children I definitely could not buy a quality breast pump when considering more essential purchases that my babies needed — and before, it was not something that even the best insurance plan covered, but since 2013 even Medicaid will cover a breast pump because of the ACA. ♡

Although my milk did not come in while I was at the hospital (the baby was just getting colostrum), and even though I wasn’t sure if he was even latching on right, I exclusively breastfed him during my hospital stay. I was disappointed because I wanted a fat baby, and I could tell he was losing his birth weight.

When we got home, I would occassionally squeeze my breasts to see if anything came out, and if I did manually expressed my breasts, the colostrum did come out of my nipples. The first night that we were home, I asked my father-in-law to get baby formula and a gallon of distilled water (he’s actually a pediatrician, how great is that!?).

Around 2AM, after the baby seemed so miserable and hungry, I went downstairs and I made him a bottle. I was still determined to breastfeed though. The next day, I tried out my breast pump… I got out about 1 oz. with like 25 minutes of pumping. I was still determined that the baby would get some breastmilk even if I also had to supplement with formula.

However, surprisingly the next day when I pumped, I got up to 2 oz. I was so ecstatic! 2 oz. is a lot for a newborn, it’s the same amount as the ready-to-feed bottles that they give you at hospitals. Also by the second day of pumping, my breasts were engorged by the morning time, and when I pumped I could actually see the milk squirting out from my nipples.

My baby still supplements with formula, but I’m so happy that although I’ve more or less gave up on nursing, my baby is still able to get some breastmilk, which is the golden standard for baby feeding. Pediatricians recommend to exclusively breastfeed for the first year as the baby’s only milk source, but I’ll be happy if I can make the 3-month or 6-month mark.

For those who are interested, I got the Spectra pump. I LOVE it. A lot of women go with the Medela brand, and I can’t compare the two, but I’m very satisfied with the Spectra — considering it’s the only way I seem to be able to get my milk to come out!

The Short-End of the Stick

Hahaha, I read this UK article that was hilarious and it made me think of my ex-fiancé because he was the only short guy I’ve ever seriously dated.

According to the article, short men tend to add two inches to their height on dating profiles (this is true because he was definitely NOT 5’7″ unless you included the height from his shoes) — it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George wears Timberlands all the time because Nina met him with Tims on and he wanted to keep up the appearance of being two inches taller than he was.

Height is an established measure of status in the Western world, there’s no denying it — a learning that’s drilled into men (and women) from childhood, that betrays our inner, competitive fascination with social status.

Social research have shown the disadvantages of being a short man (besides from people calling you a hobbit). A study released found that there was a relationship between lower socio-economic status and short stature men. As well as finding that short men are less likely to have been educated to the same degree level as tall men; it revealed a strong correlation among men between shorter height and lower household income. Of course this is just a generalization and does not speak for the individual man — I mean, look at Napoleon and Hitler, they were one of the most powerful short men in history!

Short men are less represented at the highest ranks of leadership than tall men. According to one US study in 2009, “It is hardly a coincidence that 58 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are six feet or taller.”

As the Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book Blink, which looked at how we instantly judge people and things, “Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature.”

Online dating can be a disaster zone for short men. If dating profiles are anything to go by, almost all men below the height of 5’10” exaggerate their height by a couple of inches. A 2013 study found that on average, women prefer their partner to be about 8 inches taller than them, and another research by anthropologist Dr. Boguslaw Pawlowski has concluded that potential partners size each other up before considering each others’ face, personality, or body shape.

It gets even worse for shorty men; a study of married couples in Indonesia found that having a taller husband was positively related to a wife’s happiness — I believe it! You definitely feel more protected with a taller man; I mean it’s hard to feel “safe” in a dark alley with a guy who you hope has arms long enough to punch his attacker’s face. When you look at even famous short men, like Tom Cruise or Eminem, they haven’t been very lucky in love at all — so there’s definitely a correlation between happy wife, happy life for taller men.

There’s a lot we can do to rectify perceived shortcomings in the modern world – but what can you do about a lack of height? Short of getting your legs extended (it seriously does happen for people who can afford it), your only recourse is an elevating pair of platform shoes.

It’s certainly a nonsense to reduce any anger expressed by a short man as in some way related to his height, when tall men have been known to have their fair share of anger and violent tempers too. That being said, there is evidence to suggest that shorter people experience greater levels of paranoia, and that shorter American men can be more prone to violence; especially since in American culture, the average height for men is considered at least 5’8″.

According to weak (but notable) correlations found in scientific studies, shorter people (both men and women) are likely on average to be less intelligent than taller people. One explanation for this is that height can be an indicator of genetic health. There’s rigorous debate in the scientific community as to whether height correlates to life expectancy – and, indeed, some research has shown that far from living longer, tall people are more at risk of cancer (they have more cells that can go wrong) which can bring about an early death… so I guess that’s one huge disadvantage of being tall. However, there does seem to be an overall relationship between height and lifespan – and it’s not good news for the shorties. Three studies all found that taller people have a reduced risk of early death, despite being more at risk for cancer!

When I think of this article though, does it fall into the same category as social preferences? Like, when someone says: I’m just not attracted to black girls, or I only date Jewish men, or is it equivalent to not being attracted to fat people???

Happy Mother’s Day to Me ♡

After such a hard childhood, I’ve been fortunate with many outcomes in my adult life; and although I was unlucky in love in the past, God has blessed me a hundred times over for all of the heartaches and misery I’ve endured (and forgiven me for the ones I’ve caused to others) — I am so grateful for such a wonderful husband, and his equally wonderful parents. ♡

Happy Mother’s Day to me. ♡

They’re beautiful. I LOVE them!

Stillbirths

I read a HuffPost article about a woman in the UK who shared her story of losing her daughter at 38 weeks in the womb. So far along in your pregnancy, a lost of a fetus at that stage is a stillbirth and no longer considered a miscarriage, because the baby will have to be medically delivered either by c-section or induction.

Having a stillbirth has to be the most devastating. Most miscarriages happens in the first few months of pregnancy, in the first trimester, and usually because of some chromosomal defects where the embryo just wasn’t viable for survival. It’s why most women had traditionally waited until the 3-month mark (or after the first trimester) to announce their pregnancy.

A stillbirth is when the baby would have been medically able to survive birth, but for whatever reason died in-vitro; the woman in the article said she found out after she noticed she hadn’t felt her baby moving in a few days, and when she went to the hospital, the doctor confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat.

I can imagine the immense guilt she must have felt. After all, at 38 weeks the baby could have been delivered, and she probably played it over and over in her head why didn’t she go to the doctor the first day she noticed the baby’s movements had decreased — it’s especially hard when you’re so far along too, I mean, some women naturally go into labor at 38 weeks!

Most women don’t even think about the separation of stillbirths and miscarriages, instead thinking that the two different medical terms are exchangeable… but they’re not. I think that’s why the article effected me so much. Even at 34 weeks, a whole month earlier, she could have saved her baby. She would have been in the NICU, but she would have been born… and that’s the hardest part, thinking of all the “what if-s”, and what you should have/could have done.

I think mostly, when the end is so near, you don’t even think about something so morbid and negative as your baby dying inside of you. Instead, you’re inching towards home-plate; you’ve got your hospital bag packed, you’re seeing the doctor every week (or every two weeks) — how can something happen when you’re getting checked by the doctor every week in the last month, right? Yet, it does happen, and sometimes it’s very sudden.

Grieving is one of the hardest emotional moments to overcome. I was very sad when I read her story. It made me miss my husband so much since he’s out in the field and won’t be back until I either go into labor or the day before my scheduled c-section… but sometimes when I feel like this, I just need him around to hold me.

Pee Pads!

Okay, I had stated a few posts ago that I wanted to be brutally honest about pregnancy (because a lot of women, and Hollywood, give out a false impression that can make a pregnant woman feel bad when she doesn’t feel like she’s floating around on a rainbow).

Let’s talk about peeing on yourself. It happens. Any pregnant woman that tells you she never peed herself in her 9th month of pregnancy is a straight-faced liar! Not only did she peed herself, but she’s so ashamed/embarrassed that she probably uses some incognito app so that her phone doesn’t save the cookies from the sites she visited when she Google “pregnancy incontinence”.

It’s nature. Don’t be embarrassed. I’m writing this on the world-wide-web to let you all know it happens, even to me! Sure, there are women who love being pregnant because they don’t get morning sickness or pregnancy acne, or any of those other awful symptoms… but even those women aren’t immune to the uterus pushing down on her bladder at 9 months when the baby has dropped head first into her pelvic area.

Well, my baby is due in a little over a week, and I am currently suffering from a hacking cold that I got from my daughter. She’s school age, so it’s unavoidable, and there’s really nothing to do for a common cold other than to let it run its course. Except, every time I cough or sneeze, I pee my pants — soaking my underwear.

I have changed my underwear like 10x today. Finally, after running out of my 20th cotton granny undies from Walmart (I’ll write a post about buying Walmart cotton underwear in the future, they’re actually the best thing ever when you’re pregnant!) — I decided to go upstairs to the master bathroom and dig out my period pads.

Now, I’ve always had a heavy period flow, so I usually do not buy those panty liner nonsense or those ultra thin crap; but I was still unsure as urine is completely water-like liquid and menstrual bleeding is definitely not water-like. I mean, even if you’re a guy, you know blood is thicker than water (no pun intended, haha). I wasn’t sure that the pads would hold up to my leaking bladder, and if not, I was desperate enough to go to the store and get a bag of Depends… I did not have to get urinary incontinence pads at the store — my menstrual pads held up well enough for me to sit through a whole afternoon of watching real murders getting solved on the ID network. Hooray!

There, I just shared a TMI story that is incredibly embarrassing… but every mom will tell you, you lose all shame of your body when you’re on a hospital bed with your legs spread wide apart, and there’s like 4 strangers staring at your gapping vagina as a head is emerging… even the duchess, Kate Middleton.

This baby is getting evicted soon! I can’t wait.

Spring Fever

I’m dying!!! — no, but seriously, I have an awful cold that I got from my daughter, and it’s the worse, especially since my baby will be here in a little over a week.

My hubby will be gone this week to go to the field, and hopefully will be back the night before my scheduled c-section (unless I go into labor before then); the Dr. and Mrs. are coming down to stay with us at the end of next week in-case the baby decides to arrive while daddy is in the field… the life of an infantry officer — woe is me.

Since he won’t be here to celebrate Mother’s Day with me, he indulged my plant-craze… it was the only thing I liked about Iowa was having a garden; and after living in an apartment in Georgia for almost a year, I’m glad to have our beautiful house here.

My mini succulent plants in the front living room (I crochet that sunflower table runner for my coffee table… makes a beautiful gift, I LOVE personal DIY gifts!), and my majestic palm in the corner.

My new bonsai tree; it was originally outside on our patio, but I moved it inside.

My hubby bought this one, it’s some sort of ivy… (and one of my hubby’s paintings that he painted in college in the background wall).

My mass cane, with my bonsai tree, and my lucky bamboo that I’ve had for about 5 years now.

My mass cane in front of the window… I crochet those sunflower curtain ties (the design on the curtains are sunflowers), so it matches! (I ended up moving this plant up against the wall between my curio and bookcase.)

My humongous peace lily. It’s very pretty… this ended up being moved to our bedroom because I was sick of looking at my hubby’s ugly snake plant!

In our front living room; a new lucky bamboo and an African violet… and my hubby’s mint plant.

A close-up of my hubby’s painting in the front living room; he painted this in college during a family vacation in Michigan (it’s my favorite).

My ZZ plant that I’ve had for about 3 years now. It’s in the baby’s room.

In my hubby’s office… some type of ivy and an orchid.

Sun coming up… in our bedroom, another painting my hubby painted in college, and my peace lily (and his ugly snake plant).

CPT. America ♡

*(Update: I found out it was 10-miles, not 10K… so even better because 10-miles is definitely a longer distance than 10-kilometers, ha!)


So incredibly proud of my husband — he ran the Army 10-Miler Qualifier in an hour this morning (and in the rain too!). #ScreamingEagles

I knew he’d do really good though, since he always excels in these types of events, like being recognized by the commanding general for coming in first for the 12-mile ruck march when he earned his EIB two years ago.

We are all so incredibly proud of him. Another feather in his cap, almost as exciting as his Bronze Star Medal for Afghanistan. ♡

I wish I wasn’t so sick and miserable so I could have cheered him on (I actually think I caught a cold from my little snot-nose daughter!).