Why I Chose to Swaddle My Kids…

There were a few disagreements when I began to swaddle my babies after I had them, especially from my mom since that was not something she did when I was born. But there are a lot of good things that can come from swaddling your baby.

I liked to swaddle my kids because it kept them from startling themselves awake at night. After babies are born they have a natural startle reflex where they get scared in their sleep and their arms will fly up and scare them to the point where they wake up. As a new mom, you want to keep your baby asleep and not waking up every 5 minutes. Even when you just try to lay them down in their crib, it can cause them to startle themselves awake. Swaddling helps keep their arms close to their body so they don’t startle themselves.

There are many different kinds of swaddles out there as well. There is the blanket swaddle which includes a lot of twisting, tying, and wrapping. The blanket swaddle is nice because there are so many different colors and fabrics available to you and different positions you’re able to swaddle baby in.

There is also the sleep sack swaddle which only has a zipper going up the middle which requires no wrapping or twisting. I really liked the sleep sack swaddle because it allows the baby to move their arms and legs naturally as they would in the womb, but still doesn’t allow them to fully lift up their arms and startle themselves.

The velcro swaddle was my least favorite because my kids could always pull their arms out of them and it wasn’t tight enough to even hold their arms down since the velcro continued to come loose each time I used it (and it was also difficult to wash).

I think there are a lot of good benefits when it comes to swaddling babies. It calms them down and helps them stay asleep longer, it can keep them warm without having any loose blankets in the crib, and there are many different options for different parents and babies preferences.

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Receptionist vs Anxiety

My anxiety stems from more of a social aspect and yet for some reason I became a receptionist at a pediatric clinic. I decided to go to school to become a Medical Administrative Assistant so that I could start working in billing and coding. Billing and coding doesn’t require a lot of face to face aspect with patients or possibly any at all. But in order to get into a billing/coding position, you have to have experience in the medical field. So I became a medical receptionist.

Some days are definitely harder than others when it comes to dealing with my anxiety at work. Sometimes I’ll have to take a 10 minute walk to try to calm my racing heart beat or other times I’ll just step away and try to drink some water. My anxiety doesn’t usually come from any necessary trigger though. Sometimes it’s just hard to be around people.

It can take a lot of courage sometimes for me to want to talk to people. I get nervous over what I’m going to say and honestly over think every little word or sentence before I say it. One of my giveaways that my anxiety is bothering me is that my leg will start shaking. That’s usually how people around me can tell when I’m feeling anxious.

After a year of working as a medical receptionist though, I feel like it has definitely helped me learn how to cope with my anxiety in situations where I have to confront somebody. You can’t always make everybody happy and I feel like that’s the hardest part of going to work. You know at least one person is going to be upset and I honestly always think they’re upset at me – even though I’m sure it’s not. But like I said, I like to over think unnecessary things. I’ve learned that there are people going through the same thing as well and that they’ll always support me when I need it and that’s definitely something I’ll never take for granted.

 

Cross Country Moving?

It can be a very big decision to move across the country, especially when you basically spent your whole life in one place. I have lived in Seattle, WA since I was 5 years old, but now that I have two young kids and became a mom very young, it’s really difficult to afford to live here. Right now Seattle is on its path to become the most expensive city in the United States to live in (even more expensive than California). Houses are averaging at about at least $550,000. Some of these houses were even built in the 1970’s. Any of the newer houses are averaging at $800,000 – $1,000,000 right now. This is something that unfortunately is really difficult for us to afford and Gian has some family in Georgia and a house available for us to move into.

The differences in prices between Seattle and Georgia is definitely a huge difference. House prices are around $250,000 – $350,000 in Georgia. Gas in Seattle is $2.85 and in Georgia it’s at $2.11. The schools have better ratings in Georgia and even the prices of food are cheaper.

We have lived in Georgia before for about 6 months at a time for each of my pregnancies and it was really difficult for me to be away from my home and as much as I wish I could make it work to live in Seattle, it’s just not becoming a reality. I need to do what is best for my children and there are many benefits to my family for moving to Georgia.

We would have a house ready for us to live in, I would only have to work part time if even, Gian’s income stays the same no matter which state we live in, and I could focus more of my time giving my children the childhood that they deserve. It will be a huge transition and it’s not happening anytime in the near future, but it is definitely a serious thought crossing our minds.

If you have any advice on how to cope with moving away from your family, let me know!

Finding the Right Childcare

It can be really difficult trying to find the right daycare/nanny to take care of your children. There are so many scary news stories out there about children being injured or mistreated while in the care of somebody else. It can also be really expensive.

In my situation, full time childcare is about $1,000 a month per child. And unfortunately I am $40 over the income limit to receive any help from the state when trying to get care for my children. I work a full time job, 40 hours a week, and a second job on Saturdays to try to keep up with the needs of trying to live in Seattle, WA. It would basically add up to my whole paycheck of trying to put both my children into childcare which would defeat the purpose of going to work.

At first I tried to find a nanny through Care.com which I found someone who was very great and understanding at first of my schedule. Over time, my kids were begging for me to not have her come over and she was taking over children about 30 miles away every day for a “play date.” It didn’t last very long and we ended up having find care from someone else.

We found an in home daycare licensed through the state that was about 5 minutes from our home and seemed like they were taking good care of our kids. She understood our needs for care, our schedules, and that we couldn’t afford much (about $800/week). It was going great for about 3 months and then when I messaged about bringing our kids in at a different time at the beginning of March, the lady stated that she raised her prices and also gave away my children’s spots in her daycare. It was really upsetting that it happened without notice when my kids had been there the week beforehand and she could’ve easily mentioned it to us.

Then someone referred us to a nanny share situation and she has been really great. We pay her $25/day per child and she sends us picture, video, and text updates on the children throughout the day to let us know how they’re doing. They get fed really good meals, have many different activities to do, and they go on a daily walk outside to the park to interact with other children and get some fresh air.

It took a really long time to find someone that you can honestly trust with your child. It is a learning experience and you want to find someone who is affordable, understanding, and truly cares about your child. The most important thing to me is that the person will take care of your child, no matter what. I just want someone who will treat them like their own. They are my babies and they deserve the best. Keep an open mind, keep trying to find someone if you have to, and always trust your gut when it comes to child care.

Back to School?

When is a good time to go back to school after having a baby?

Unfortunately there is never a good time for really anything after having a baby. There are many questions you need to ask yourself before deciding to go back to school.

  1. Can you afford to go back to school and take care of a baby?
  2. Do you have the resources and finances in place to set up childcare while you’re attending school?
  3. Do you have the transportation to get to and from school?
  4. Can you allow time to study after school with a baby?
  5. Will you be able to keep yourself and the baby healthy? (Ex: getting enough sleep)

All of these questions are not made to scare anybody away from going to school. They are just important to think about before finally making the big decision.

I decided to go back to school when I was 7 months pregnant with Gianni. I was signed up and ready to go when he was only 3 weeks old. I realized that with Alianna and Gianni there was never going to be a good time, but if I did it earlier then that would mean that I would be closer to making money to help support them and they wouldn’t necessarily remember the nights I had to be away from them. I was so lucky to find a program through Pima Medical Institute that was only 9 months long, 4 days a week, and 4 1/2 hours a day.

But those 9 months were not easy.

There were nights I cried thinking about wanting to give up because I was so tired. Days where I was sitting at the dining room table, textbooks spread everywhere, trying to feed myself, while also breastfeeding Gianni. There were debates in my head about whether I should take a nap with the kids or take the opportunity to study. One day the power went out right before I left the kids with the nanny. I pulled out some candles, told them where the food was, prayed the power would come back on, and walked out the door to head school.

Through all of these exhausting nights and long days, I achieved my goals of having perfect attendance and a 4.0 GPA. The day of my graduation ceremony, I made sure that both of my kids were there to witness that it is possible, you can do it, and that being a teen mom does not mean the end of your life. You can still continue achieving your dreams and becoming the best person for yourself.

It will be hard, but I promise it is possible.

Anxiety vs. Parenting

About 6 months after I had Gianni, I realized that my social anxiety had gone to an all time high. I experienced my very first anxiety attack while at work. It was the absolute scariest feeling I have ever felt. My throat and chest felt like they were both closing up and as if a huge weight was crushing me. My hands and legs could barely stop shaking. While my eyes created tears that just wouldn’t fall. It was at that point that I decided to see my doctor regarding the situation.

As I sat in that exam room, waiting for my doctor to come into the room, a million thoughts ran through my head since I’m the type of person that likes to overthink things.

“Am I a bad mom because of my anxiety?”

“Will my kids be taken away from me?”

“Are people going to think I’m mentally crazy?”

“Is anyone going to believe me this was real?”

“I can still change my mind… it’s not too late…”

The one thought that overcame all of the others was, “Your kids need you to do this. They will appreciate you taking the time and strength to do this.”

My doctor came into the room and as she asked me why I was in today, tears came into my eyes. I let her know about the panic attack, the actual fear and panic that overcomes me when I get into uncomfortable confrontations, the thoughts that I am being judged at every moment. I admitted that I was scared and didn’t know if I should be doing this.

At that moment my doctor looked into my eyes and said “It’s good that you are doing this. They need this. The only way you can take care of your babies, is if you take care of yourself first.”

That’s when I decided to start taking care of myself. I started to look for other jobs in the same work field to get away from the negativity surrounding me. I started to go for walks when the weather permitted it with the children. I open up about my feelings and thoughts a lot more now instead of hiding away and holding them in. I am still the same person. I am still the same mom. And I still love my kids just the same as I did before starting my medication.

There is a stigma in our society today that everybody is making up their anxiety or that everybody has some sort of mental health issue – and unfortunately it’s making people afraid to get the help that they most likely need. It is truly scary to ask for help… I am not going to lie about that. In the end it will be completely worth it though to finally have the weight off of you. To finally feel like you can breathe. To finally feel like you can be yourself.

It’s not a forever cure though. It will sneak up on you. It will pop out at random moments and haunt you just a little bit. But having the resources to get it under control, to fight it, to realize that it’s just the anxiety… it will make a difference. And it will be the best decision you can make. I always tell people that I am here if they need to talk because I do get it and I’m not just saying it. Sometimes we all just need someone.

And that’s okay.

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Gianni Daniel

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I would like to write about my birth story with Gianni for this post because it gives a look at how young moms are treated when having a baby. Gianni was not my first baby and so I was expecting a very easy and smooth delivery as I had with my daughter. On Friday, July 31st at 1:30 p.m., I began to feel small gushes of water between my legs. I went through a few pads, not knowing if it was going to stop or having any knowledge of what it felt like to have your water break. Once the realization began that my son was going to be born and I needed to go to the hospital, I called my doctor right away.

 

The nurse that I spoke to told me that I should get to their clinic as soon as I could so that they could check if it was actually amniotic fluid that was leaking and that my doctor actually had gone out of town that day. When I got to the doctor’s office at around 3:00 p.m., they took me back right away. While laying on that cold exam table, the doctor came into the room and immediately more amniotic leaked out and he sent me downstairs to check in to the maternity center.

 

Since I didn’t have anyone available to watch Alianna yet, she had to be with us at the hospital for the time being. When we arrived downstairs at the maternity center and checked in, we were assigned a nurse who quickly rushed me into a room and kept asking me if someone was going to pick up my daughter. I let the nurse know that my mom was going to leave work and be on her way as soon as she could since she worked about 45 minutes away. Again, the nurse told me that she could not stay in the room and someone had to get her quickly. I let her know that I understood and informed her that I wanted to receive an epidural.

 

The doctor that was on call came in to talk to me while the nurse finished getting everything set up for me and taking my health history. The doctor stated that since my water broke, I would have to be induced as soon as possible to avoid infection. I informed the doctor that I wanted to wait before getting induced as we were trying to have an August baby. The nurse turned to my fiance and I and asked “Is that because of some zodiac reason?” with an attitude in her voice. We explained the situation to her that we just thought it would be cute since Giancarlo’s birthday is in December, Alianna’s birthday is in December, and my birthday is in August that it would all go together. The nurse did not say anything after that and told me that I would have to start walking to get the dilated process started.

 

Once I finished walking around the maternity center, I made it back to my delivery room and informed the nurse again that I wanted an epidural before it was too late. The nurse stated that we had to go through one bag of IV fluid, an EKG, and a questionnaire with the anesthesiologist before I could get an epidural. I let her know to get the IV started and she got everything that she needed. As she was putting in the epidural, the doctor came into the room again and told me that I should be getting induced as well as we were running out of time. I knew in my head that there was 24 hours allowed before infection was a huge risk, meaning that we had 9 hours to go before it hit midnight. I let the doctor know that I would think about getting induced at 7 p.m.

 

The nurse told me that I had to keep walking around and that I could not sit down, so my fiance started walking with me again. As we were walking around the hospital, we passed by our doctor. Giancarlo and I were laughing and talking together, holding hands, as he helped me push the IV bag down the hallway with Alianna. The doctor looked at us and said “You must not be having much pain since you’re smiling” then laughed and walked away.

 

Once it hit 7 p.m. we went back to the delivery room and decided to be induced since we felt that we were being forced to have our baby and got a feeling that none of the staff there wanted us around any longer. The nurse got the pitocin (a medication used to speed up labor) and got the process started for the induction. She got the medication going and let me know that I had to start walking again. My contractions were starting to get stronger and with the pitocin going, the pain was becoming unbearable. I took a break in the hallway and sat down in the a chair with my family as tears were streaming down my face from the pain. The nurse stuck her head out of my delivery room and yelled “You can’t be sitting down! I have to monitor the baby and I can’t do it with you sitting!”

 

I continued walking around the hospital, stopping every few steps because the pain was getting to be too much. As I walked past the delivery room, the nurse pulled me into the room and asked me if I wanted to try taking a warm bath to try and soothe the pain. I told her that would be great and she told me she had to fill up the tub, drain it, and then fill it up again and she would get it ready for me and I should continue walking. Giancarlo and I walked around a little bit longer then went back into the delivery room to try getting into the bath.

 

When I climbed into the bath, I was only able to sit down for a couple of minutes because I was shaking so bad. I felt as though I couldn’t grab onto something hard enough to make it go away. I climbed out of the bath tub, dried off as quick as I could, and went to lay down in the hospital bed. The nurse gave me a little bit of pain medicine then told me that she was going on her break and would be back later. By this time it is already 9:00 p.m. and the new nurse that was assigned to me came into the room.

 

I started talking to the new nurse that was there, telling her that it hurt really bad and that it wouldn’t go away. I stated over and over again that I really wanted to get an epidural as the pain was unbearable. The nurse came over and said she was going to check my cervix since it wasn’t checked since when I was first admitted. My cervix was at 10+1 centimeters. The nurse started telling me to not push and to keep calm as she was calling the doctor to hurry to the room. I started begging for an epidural, knowing deep down that it was too late to get one.

 

The doctor came into the room and at 9:30 p.m., I started to push. I had my mom and Giancarlo by my side every step of the way. I pushed a few times with every contraction and at 9:54 p.m. on July 31st, Gianni Daniel was born. They immediately put him onto my chest and it was the most amazing feeling, holding my sweet little baby in my arms

 

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I am so proud and happy that my sweet little baby came out so beautiful and healthy. On the other hand, the way Giancarlo and I were treated was not right given any situation. When people realize I am a young mom, they take it upon themselves to think that they are right about everything and that I’m too young to truly know what I want. I had a completely healthy pregnancy and was very open about my doctor who completely understood what I want. But when it finally came down to receiving the care that every person deserves to have, it was not received. I hope young moms can feel comfortable standing up for themselves in medical situations, for their own health and their child’s. Every individual has a right to being treated how they want to be treated, no matter the age or the amount of schooling that people went to. Everyone deserves the compassion to be listened to, so please stick up for yourself.