Crown’s Birth Story

If you keep up with me on social media, then you’ll know our baby girl made her debut on December 14th. It’s been the most beautiful, evolving experience of our lives. Her name is Crown Sephora, and we are absolutely in love.

While Crown’s birth story started off rocky, it evolved into a very beautiful experience that I am so thankful I was able to have. On the morning of December 11th, I went to my “full term” 38 week prenatal appointment, and I found out that my amniotic fluid was low. My doctor asked me if I noticed baby not moving as much, which I did, but I assumed it was because she was running out of room. They did an ultrasound and alerted me that her fluid level was at a 5, which is just above the danger zone. My OB advised that she would like to induce me so that we didn’t lose anymore fluid, which was vital for baby girl’s health. My OB gave me the weekend to get everything together. My parents rushed in town to be with Brave, and HD and I ran off to have our new baby.

I was a nervous wreck. As if learning you’ll be induced wasn’t terrifying enough, I was still battling all of my anxieties from Brave’s birth.

If you aren’t familiar, I had a very traumatic birth with Brave. It was mentally and physically exhausting. Both of us could have had fatal outcomes and I carried the trauma with me the entire first year of Brave’s life. When I learned I was pregnant, my trauma from my first birth experience often overshadowed this joy of new life. It felt like I was holding my breath. It was so bad to where I begged my doctor for a voluntary c-section because I just couldn’t go down that road twice. But she asked me to trust her, and I did, as she was a doctor I specifically sought out for this reason. I’m glad I listened.

The morning of Crown’s birth was surprisingly calm, little did I know it would set the tone for the entire experience. I gathered my things, and had a quick moment to myself. I told myself, I wouldn’t take what happened to Brave and I during my first birthing experience into this new birth, it wasn’t fair to her, and it wasn’t fair to me. Crown deserved her own story, untainted with trauma that didn’t belong to her. So before I left our home, I put that moment behind me for the sake of having a new experience.

We got to the hospital (a new hospital, I chose not to deliver at the same hospital I birthed Brave), and it felt right. We were welcomed with smiles, escorted to our rooms, and greeted by the friendliest nursing staff there was. My nurse, Maggie reminded me of someone I knew from back home, and it instantly made me feel at peace.

Maggie was a trooper, though I was being induced medically, she wanted to keep the birthing process as natural as possible to keep my anxiety at bay. So after we they induced me medically, Maggie made me work through labor just as if I would have done if I naturally went in labor. We breathed, we switched positions, we moved, we allowed gravity to do it’s job. And in 18 hours, my body came to be ready. I’m thankful that they didn’t pressure me, or rush my process. That alone made my experience far better than before. When I made it to 10 cm dilated, I still wasn’t ready. Though I was dilated, Crown was still really high so Maggie made me do the work. I had to sit up as far as possible for 1.5 hour and Crown slowly dropped into the perfect position, then it was go time. My OB, who constantly checked on me made her way back around to our labor and delivery room, and she looked me in my eyes and said “you can do this. we can do this. on your next contraction, push like you want your baby girl in your arms now.” and that’s what I did. I did one, huge push, and Crown came flying out of there. I delivered my baby girl in one push! In fact, my doctor said “you can stop pushing now, she’s in my arms!” and there she was. Beautiful as ever, in all of her glory.

Crown came out with her eyes open, with such a peaceful presence. It was like she knew that she had a mission to make this moment count, and that she did. She was born at 3:51pm, after 18 hours of calm and manageable labor, and 1 push. She’s been the calm to our storm ever since she made her way earth-side. We call her ‘zen baby’ because she’s just so at peace, everyone notices. We love her endlessly, and we cannot wait to watch her grow into a beautiful woman. Our hearts are full.

A Letter To My Daughter

Baby Girl …

We are patiently waiting your arrival, and I sit in awe of the fierce one you will be someday. Truthfully, I always knew I’d have a daughter, but I never knew you’d show yourself as quickly as you did. You were always meant to be, etched in history. Your name has been yours for as long as we’ve wanted you, ten years to be exact. We’ve spoken of you often, in casual conversation and prayers, and any day now you will be.

My prayer for you is to live a full-abundant life, one without any restrictions. I’m telling you this because as you grow up, after the diapers, bows, and toys, things will start to change. The innocence of the world will be snatched away like a cold-lonely night. You will stop carelessly hopping in puddles, chasing your big brother around, you will notice a difference. One day you will be confronted with what the world wants of you, and before that can happen I thought I should tell you that the most important thing there is, is what you want for you, because you are not of this world.

Things are different for us as women. We have to work harder, fight longer, and withstand much more than the average; especially as a black woman. But baby girl, you come from a long line of fearless women who have paved the way for you. Victory is your birth right. Perseverance is who you are.

So as life comes at you, as you grow and notice some of the things I’ve mentioned, my hope is that you cling tightly to who you are, one of one … a precious jewel, like no other. I hope that as those around you flock to fit in, you press forward to stand out. I hope that as others follow trends, you remain the timeless class-act that you are. My hope is that you speak up for those that have no voice, and avoid turning a blind eye. I hope you are a friend to the friendless, especially the ones that could use a bit of your joy. I hope that whatever you want in life, you fight and work hard for honestly. And most of all I hope that you know that you are worthy of every single thing your heart desires and your family will help you obtain those things one step at a time. We are thrilled to have you join our squad … your dad, your big brother Brave, and I can’t wait to meet you, little fierce one.

With Love,

Mama

How I’ve Successfully Breastfed For Over 300 Days

If you would have told me when I first had Brave that I would still be breastfeeding 10 months later, I wouldn’t have believed you! This has by far been the hardest thing I have ever done. It is a continuous journey that takes on a life of it’s own.

I remember when I first started nursing Brave, I purposely set low-expectations because I didn’t want to be bummed about having a short-lived experience with breastfeeding. To my surprise my body knew exactly what it was doing to nurture my son.

Nothing about this journey was easy. The early morning or late-night feeding was tough to get through, the drop in supply that I experienced around month 5, the planning outings, dressing to breastfeed and beyond made things just a little more difficult.

Even with all of the set backs and adversities, I knew deep down I wanted to breastfeed my son. It was much more than just feeding him, it was build a bond that stands the test of time. It was showing him that I was everything he needed. It was showing myself that I could do the impossible. It was much more than just food, it was sustaining life.

If you are considering breastfeeding regardless of your timeline goals … whether it’s 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, a year, or beyond … here are a few tips from an experienced mom that may help you too:

  1. Have Support. The best thing I could have done for myself is surrounding myself with the proper support. From friends who had success with breastfeeding (both nursing and pumping), to having a lactation consultant with vast knowledge to offer professional advice. This is critical. Knowledge and experience is your “breast-friend” when it comes to breastfeeding for the first time. As a first time mom, you will have tons of questions and uncertainties that need to be addressed. Use your supportive mom friends for those middle of the night emergency questions, and follow up with your lactation consultation for professional insight and assistance. I recommend having 2-3 sessions with a lactation consultation after having your baby to ensure you are actually breastfeeding properly. This will be the difference between a positive and negative breastfeeding experience.
  2. Eat well, stay hydrated. You don’t realize how much you are pouring into your baby. Breastfeeding a new baby is equivalent to working a full workout. You lose a lot of important nutrients from your body each and every time you feed your baby. It’s important to eat well and stay hydrated. You will notice a huge difference in your milk supply if you are hydrated.
  3. Leave Stress Out. There’s just no way to have a successful breastfeeding journey if you’re constantly stressed out. I understand that as a new mom you have so much on your plate, but try your best to not welcome stress into your nursing / pumping sessions. Why? Because stress factors in your milk supply. Anytime I nursed or pumped stressed there was a significant drop in my supply, I wouldn’t have much milk output. I learned that I needed to relax. Sometimes I would take a nice hot shower, watching videos of my son, or go and lay down for a while to sooth my body then try and pump or nurse again. It made a huge difference.
  4. Don’t Compare Your Journey. Your journey may not be like another mamas. I would often find myself scrolling for hours in breastfeeding groups saddened by how much less milk I made in comparison to other moms with their full eight ounce bottles of milk output. I had to reprogram my thinking to understand that MY BODY was making milk for MY SON and it was everything that he needed and the perfect amount that he needed.
  5. Let Go of Timelines. I would often stress about how long I had been breastfeeding. I remember thinking that I couldn’t make it to 6 weeks, then I would look up and it would be 8 weeks later. I remember thinking I couldn’t make it to 3 months, then I would look up and noticed I had been breastfeeding for 5 months. That’s when I learned to take things one day at a time. I realized, however long I breastfed on my journey was a blessing in itself. Every single drop of golden milk poured billions of good antibodies into my son and wherever our journey ends is exactly where it’s suppose to.

So mama, if you’re about to begin your journey, or if you’re already on it, I hope you know that you are doing amazing and you have every single thing your baby needs already inside of you. Keep your head up, ask for help and support, and enjoy these precious moments. They don’t last forever.

Everything We’ve Learned As New Parents Thus Far

Brave is 8 months and honestly, HD and I finally feel like we have this parenting an infant thing down! Everyday is a new learning opportunity for us but we officially-officially have a system that works for our baby boy and it feels great to have a little sense of normalcy because nothing about being a new parent feels normal in the beginning.

Since having Brave, HD and I have really learned so much about each other, partnership and parenting. I got him to share some tips he would like to offer new parents, and together we put together a full list. Check it out below:

There’s no such thing as prepping too early. I remember people always teased me for randomly buying things on the clearance racks at Target, often saying “you won’t need a baby shower in a minute” … or “you’re wasting money, you won’t remember that thing when baby arrives!” But I PROMISE you, I remembered! Every single thing I swiped from a clearance rack for 5 dollars here and there literally came in handy, especially footed pajamas!

Come up with a schedule and a daily routine sooner than later and stick to it. In the beginning, this are hectic. There’s no structure, you’re still learning your baby’s cries and cues so don’t expect to be on a serious daily routine right away. But around month 3 when baby has some what mellowed out, you want to move to some type of schedule because it will save you and your edges, sis. BELIEVE ME. Before I had a child I would always shame my mom-friends when they left parties early or just didn’t come, but now I totally get it because the minute that cycle is broken you are back to square one. So I beg you, for your own sanity, start a routine and stick to it. Don’t let anyone interrupt that routine because baby will notice.

Allow your partner to be actively involved. I hear so many mamas say their partners aren’t involved as much as they would want them to be and I seriously couldn’t imagine it. HD is so hands-on every single day with Brave, sometimes more than me! Heck, sometimes I tease him and say if he could produce milk he could easily replace me lol. But the reality is, as new moms we can be a bit of a control freak, I know I was in the beginning. Quick to jump in and change the pamper because we want it put on perfectly, running to grab baby as soon as baby cries because it’s our natural instinct … but I encourage you to make room for your partner to do some of the work. They will step up more than you could imagine if you give them the space to do so.

Everyone will have an opinion on your parenting style. But so what. An opinion is just that, an opinion. Nothing factual, nothing set in stone. Ignore the noise and focus on you and your family.

Don’t let milestones drive you crazy. This has been the hardest part of being a new mom. I remember when Brave didn’t meet a milestone when I expected him to, I sobbed. I saw other babies his same age rolling over, front to back, and my precious boy was just not interested. I constantly beat myself up, “is he not getting enough tummy time?” “do I hold him too much?” … the reality is, your baby will do what your baby wants to do in baby’s own time. No milestone tracker can change that.

Make investments on your baby’s behalf. HD and I knew early on that we wanted to start pouring into our son’s future so we came up with simple actions we could take to start setting up a fund for him. Each Thursday we both move $25 into his savings account. We started doing this when I found out I was pregnant. It doesn’t seem like a lot, really. It’s literally what I would spend at Starbucks every week. But when he’s 18 he should have about $50K carelessly saved up that he can invest in a business or in higher education if he wants to.

We also consciously purchase a few stocks for him each month with whatever extra money we have leftover after we handle bills and savings. People are really intimidated by the stock market, but it really doesn’t require a whole lot. You can buy shares for as little as a few cents, and take those profits and reinvest into larger shares. As of today Brave at 8 months old has over 50 shares in different companies.

Brave is also a baby influencer by default haha. When I use him in any collaborations I am doing, I ALWAYS take a small percentage of what I profit and move it to his savings account because nothing is free! And as adorable as he is, he earned it!

Don’t forget about your marriage. Seriously, once you have a baby –life is basically about them. It’s all you think about, it’s all you talk about, it’s all you are doing! And as beautiful as becoming a new parent is, you don’t want to forget how you got there –the love of your marriage. Make time for each other. I know that’s really hard to do in the middle of a pandemic, but you must find a way.

For HD and I, we realized because we couldn’t get out of the house for an occasional date night, we knew we needed to find a way to spend quality time ALONE without Brave sitting between us. So we decided to start sleep training him to move his bedtime up to 8pm (he honestly stayed up until 10pm some nights). After about a week or so he adjusted to his new schedule, now HD and I get much needed adult alone time every single night from 8pm until we retire for bed. It is the best thing we have done in 2020. We get to flirt, watch movies, enjoy each others company without being on mom and dad duty. MAKE TIME for your mate.

I really hope these tips have been helpful. Everything that we shared has changed the game for HD and I. We actually feel like we can survive these parenting streets!

My 6-9 Month Must-Haves

Blogging right now has been a real struggle, between balancing being a new mommy, all of the craziness in the world, and so much of it weighing on my heart, I just haven’t been feeling inspired.

Despite being inspired, I realized I have some mama’s following me that need all the tips and recommendations they can get as their little one grows.

Brave has hit a growth spurt, as he develops, the items I use every day for him have changed. I wanted to share some of my go-to baby items during his 6-9 month leap!

First up: this Oribel high chair. It is absolutely AMAZING! Seriously, I shared a review on it when we first got it. He’s been using it since he came home from the hospital since it can recline in a laying position. But now that he’s trying solid foods, we’ve been using it for feedings. It’s perfect! The height changes to fit whatever chair I am using, the position reclines for easy access and it’s extremely easy to clean! You won’t regret this high chair. Click the link to shop it HERE

Now that Brave can officially sit without toppling over –well he still topples from time to time; but now that he’s more stable we’ve brought a play mat into our space. It’s perfect for independent play so that mama and daddy can get some work done! The bright colors draw him in and he hangs out on his mat for long stretches at a time! This mat is thick enough to not phase him when he bumps his head and the perfect size for a small space (approx 5×7 area). Trust me, you need this mat –and Target allows same day drive up pickup so you don’t have to wait on a long shipping time. Click HERE to shop!

When Brave was learning to sit up on his own, we started him out in this Sit Me Up Floor Seat by Fisher Price. He was only about 4 months old then, I truly think it got him ready for sitting early on. It gave him the proper position to really engage his core and sit up assisted. Now that he’s 7 months old we use it often for moments when we need him to sit without distractions, when he’s eating, when we are doing learning activities, or when I’m in an area of the house that isn’t baby friendly (my craft space etc). This seat is perfect for that! Click the link here to shop it: Sit Me Up Floor Seat

A few months ago Brave began to refuse bottles and pacifiers, he only wanted milk from my breast. I knew I had to figure out a solution QUICK because I’m not home 100% of the time, and he needed to drink while I was away. That’s when I introduced this LATCH Sippy Cup. It’s perfect for transitioning from bottle / breastfed baby to cup. It has a slow flow spot with a gentle touch to avoid nipple confusion. Brave now drinks from his sippy cup when I’m away. He understands that the cup is for water, only and he actually enjoys drinking from it like a big boy. Mama’s transitioning your baby to sippy cups –trust me you want this! Click the link HERE to shop.

Everyone LOVED the Brave’s new walker! I mean, the Jeep is pretty freakin’ cool! Aside from being cool, it grows with him! He can use it as a walker, once he begins to stand and push he can use to push around the house, and as a toddler he can use it as a full Jeep toy! We knew the small investment would take us through a few years of good use! To shop the walker click HERE.

With Brave trying new foods –I didn’t want to have to eliminate yummy fruits because of seeds. So I knew we needed a fruit feeder. It’s perfect because he can use the pacifier-like feeder to practice hand-to-mouth, and he can try yummy fruits like watermelon and cherries without choking on seeds! This is probably Brave’s favorite baby item right now lol! Click the link HERE to shop!

And the last thing I would say is a must is definitely this Evenflo door-way jumper! This baby comes in handy so much! It travels easy, it’s inexpensive and most of all it tires baby out! We use this jumper twice a day to burn energy! Once before Brave’s mid-day nap and once before Brave’s bedtime. A good 15-minutes bouncing can easily burn any built up energy out of baby for a great night’s rest. Plus, this thing is less than $25! You can’t beat that! Click the link to shop, HERE!

That’s it mamas! Click those links and shop those items. Tell me all about what you think, or if you have any recommendations for me! I’m always looking for new baby items!

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