Guest Blog: Preparing for Baby #2 By Stacia Sharma

One night Chris and I were out for dinner with my family and I got a text from my friend Stacia, “Guess what” at that moment I knew, Stacia was pregnant. We had always talked about having our second maternity leave together and at this time Chris and I were thinking of trying again. This announcement came with so many mixed feelings for me, happiness that I would have another beautiful baby in my life to cuddle, sadness that I wasn’t also pregnant. The sadness soon disappeared completely and now we know Stacia is having a little girl. Her daughter Berlynn and Pearce are best friends so I am super excited for them to have another little one to play with! Throughout my pregnancy and raising Pearce, Stacia has been a constant go to for advice, pick me ups and help with all my parenting, marriage and life tips. So when I decided that it could be fun to have some other perspectives on my blog, Stacia was the first person I asked. Here is a blog post about how Stacia has prepared to welcome Baby Number 2. 

Hi, my name is Stacia and I’m a mom to a wonderful two-year-old daughter and expecting daughter number two any day now. I’ve known Chelsea for years, we went to high school together, worked together at Mc Donald’s and now she’s one of closest friends. When I first found out I was pregnant again I was petrified, it happened a lot quicker than the first time and we were expecting it to take around the same amount of time this time. Having a new born and a barely two year old scared the crap out of me (who am I kidding I’m still terrified), for some reason I have always been more comfortable with a two and half year gap.

Once the shock wore off and reality set in, I started to do a bit of research both online and speaking to other moms about what I could do to make it as easy as possible on our family. What I found was a breath of fresh air, every single person said it was easier than they ever expected, of course I know its going to be hard but knowing that others had the same fears and it was easier than they thought was just nice to hear.

With my first I thought I was so prepared, I had my bags packed, laundry done, her room was completely done and I even remembered flip flops for the hospital room. Man was I wrong, I completely overlooked that giving birth would require any kind of recovery time and that I would be too tired and busy to want to cook anything. Sure I had all the baby gadgets but when it came to everything else I wasn’t prepared at all. So this time, I did a little more preparation for the family in hopes we can keep things running as smooth as possible and make the transition to two kids as easy as possible.

The first thing I did was pre-made some freezer meals, I know lots of people do this before having a baby and I regretted it big time for not doing it last time. I find a lot of freezer meals are casseroles, lasagna’s and soups or stews, since it’s the peak of summer I did a lot of meat in marinades so we could just toss on the bbq and serve with a salad without heating up the house and not eating anything super heavy. I also did a couple crock-pot meats for taco’s or burritos. The last thing I prepared ahead of time was smoothie bags, I took a big bag of frozen berries, spinach and banana’s and made individual 1 serving bags, all I need to do is add a liquid and protein. I really think these will be great for all of us, my daughter loves smoothies and it’s a great way to get her some extra greens.

Next on my list was making sure I had toddler activities because I know in the first couple weeks I’ll be extra occupied with the baby and a bored toddler will make things a lot harder. Thankfully it was just her birthday so I tucked away a lot of her gifts into my closet and I plan to give them to her one at a time when I need some quiet time. New toys are always great for some quiet time. I did some research on other activities that are great for toddlers and stocked up on play-dough, art supplies, puzzles, and sticker books.

The last thing I did was make sure my pantry was stocked with favorite snacks and I set up an amazon subscription for diapers, toilet paper and laundry supplies, paid all our bills ahead of time, packed our hospital bags and pre-made frozen recovery pads (seriously last time I was so unprepared for recovery, its kind of embarrassing).

I’m very fortunate to have a very hands on husband and to live close to both my parents and my in-laws who are great with our oldest daughter, fabulous cooks and always willing to help with housework and yard work so even if I’m not 100% prepared (is that even possible?) they will help make up the difference.

So my question to parents with more than one, how did you prepare for your growing family? We’re you surprised at how much easier or harder it was than you expected?

 

 

Grieving the last Feed.

When I was pregnant I imagined breastfeeding my child and I thought about how hard it would be and how important it was for me to try. As some of know, breast-feeding did not come easy for me.

Pearce was born not breathing and was revived and taken to the nicu pretty quickly after being born, we did not hold Pearce for 9 hours. We missed the initial skin to skin which helps so many babies root and find the latch quickly. When I did finally get a chance to nurse, it felt horrific, we struggled to get a latch and when he did the feeling of my uterus contracting actually made me want to faint. I broke down, I tried and tried but struggled the exhaustion and the pain my body felt was unbearable. But I was determined – I would not give up. Something I often say to myself, during pregnancy and each day since, “People have been doing this for millions of years and they got through it”. It has literally helped me so much. We ended up getting a latch and a few feeds after a nurse offered me a breast shield. At one point while in the hospital I was so overwhelmed by the nurse trying to help me that she actually urged us to just give my son formula so we could try to feed when he wasn’t starving – yes she told me I was starving my child. I was so happy when that nurse was gone and we got a different nurse, for the life of me I don’t remember her name but she was an older tiny women who helped me all night to grasp breastfeeding, after 4 nights in the hospital we headed home.

I was still using the breast shield as Pearce really couldn’t latch on my breast, I made appointments to see a breast consultant which was the best experience, if it wasn’t for her I don’t think I would have been able to keep going. After 3 weeks she urged me to have a doctor check for tongue tie, which we discovered he had, and he also had a lip tie. Once we had the doctors snip them I met the consultant again and she said give yourself 2 days without offering the shield, She felt Pearce was so close to getting it that all I needed to do was not offer it. After 2 days, Pearce was latching, the feeling was painful, excruciating but rewarding? Since than I have love breast-feeding, Pearce was never a cuddly child so being able to breastfeed allowed me to receive cuddles and bond with Pearce like no other time during the day.


When I returned to work when Pearce was 1, I continued to breast feed actually pumped during my lunch break in my car for 4 months. I used the pump milk for Pearce to have a bottle while at Daycare, but soon he was able to go right down without having the extra milk during the day. For those 4 months I also woke up extra early and fed Pearce in the morning before work, then pumped on my lunch and fed at night. In January I decided to stop feeding in the morning, it was exhausting for me, and I felt that he would be fine without that extra milk and he has done great.

I knew that I wanted to stop breastfeeding Pearce by the time he was 2, I have never really hated it or wanted to give it up. I am not big drinker so I never resented it because I couldn’t drink. As August has drawn near I decided to give it a try. 3 weeks ago my mom was taking Pearce over night so that Chris and I could have a date night. Then the next night I decided.. why not stop. I put Pearce to bed without giving him boob instead giving him a bottle and then putting him to bed, it was horrible he was up crying all night. My husband will NOT let Pearce cry it out he is SUPER against it so we ended up taking him out and giving him some more milk and kinda just letting him stay up with us. We tried again to put him to bed and he woke up a few hours later and ended up in our bed. I was not excited to go down this road!


The next night I decided to rock in the chair with Pearce like we did when I would feed him, I rocked him in the chair for a good 45 mins, and he fell asleep. I transitioned him to the bed and he went down great. He ended up sleeping the whole night. It was that night I realized that it wasn’t that Pearce was not a cuddly boy it was that I had never realized that time was also special for him. That it was also his cuddle time. So since then each night we go into his room and I sit in the chair and he climbs on my lap and I rock him, now only for about 20-25 mins and then I put him in his bed awake, we give each other a kiss, an Eskimo kiss and then I say, “good night my love, may you have sweet dreams” and I leave the room. Its been a great transition since.

One thing I never thought about was him waking at night I always use to just give him boob and now we just cuddle and it seems to do the same thing, so often now I feel like he just doesn’t want to be alone. But now I have found myself with a huge emotional hole inside me. I crave to have the bond of him needing me and me being able to give him something no one else can. I miss him climbing on my lap and scratching my collar-bone which was always his way of saying boob. I miss the time we would share each day together when I would feed him. Breastfeeding for me wasn’t just feeding my son, it was nurturing him and making owies better, it was cuddles and fingers poking in my mouth. It was a beautiful time and I treasured it so much, I am so incredibly happy and blessed to have spent 22 months breastfeeding my son.


This change in my life has given me more freedom as I can now drink, or I can have my husband do bed time but for me it feels like more of a loss. I feel like I am missing a part of myself now. I feel the grief of our last feed, because I did not know it was our last.. Part of me wishes I had planned better so I could have enjoyed it more knowing it would be our last, part of me thinks if I had done that I may have never stopped…

xOx Chelsea

 

 

 

Crib to Toddler Bed

From the moment I felt the first movements of Pearce inside my belly, I knew I was going to have a child as wild and crazy as his father. He was always moving and super crazy when I was pregnant. Once Pearce was born and we had discovered that we had a boy, I knew he was going to be just like his Dad. This is where my story will begin.

When I started dating Chris his mother, father and grandparents had told me a bunch of stories about how he was an escape artist, always getting out of bed and going outside to play in the middle of the night, or having to be tied to the tree when camping because he would run away. Well when Pearce was born he was just as eager to get on the move. He rolled over at 7 weeks, started crawling and 5 months and walking at 10 months. Basically since he could walk he could climb, it has been many months of owies, bruises, and little cuts all because our son is always moving faster than he can prepare for.

A little over a month ago it was nap time and Daddy had a few of Pearce’s favorite friends over and Pearce didn’t want to nap, I put him in his crib and he climbed out immediately. This happened about 4 times before we decided okay its time to change his crib into the toddler bed. Pearce had escaped once or twice before this when he had woken from a nap but never like this. So Daddy and his friends adjusted his crib into the toddler bed. We attempted nap time again by putting Pearce in his bed and he climbed out and cried by the door, he ended up falling asleep by the door after about 20 mins and then I went in and moved him into his bed.

For the rest of the week we kept Pearce up a little later at night so that when we would put him in his bed he would be tired. Bed time was a success and nap times got much better. After a month I can gladly say we have only had him fall asleep by the door 2 maybe 3 times and he has gotten into a few things. Yesterday he woke up from his nap while I was in the shower and when I grabbed him all of the diapers were all over his room, he sat there pulling them out individually from the plastic.

For being so good at sleeping in his bed for the month I took Pearce to the book store, for him this is much more exciting than the toy store. Pearce picked out 1 book, much to my surprise he picked out a paper back book, it was the a golden book version of Moana, and for the last few weeks he has slept every night cuddling his Moana book. While we were away in Kelowna Moana hugely helped us get through our 7.5 hour drive home while the Coquihalla was closed.


I have a few tips for parents transferring to toddler bed:

  1. Make the bedroom safe, if your child can get out of their bed they can also touch everything in their bedroom so do a quick check to ensure its all safe!
  2. Be prepared to have them sleep by the door a few times to get the hang of things
  3. Putting your kid to bed when they are more tired will keep them from getting out of their bed.
  4. Ensure you have a guard rail, if your waiting for one to come in the mail, grab a large pillow and place it under a blanket and lay your child on top of the blanket.
  5. You may also find them sitting in their bed while you make dinner reading a book — this will melt your heart!

I promise to share all the details of Kelowna, our Air B and B stay, the winery, the restaurants and all about Chris’s hockey tournament on an upcoming blog!

Happy Mothers Day

I knew for Mother’s Day I wanted to write a special blog. In my life I am surrounded by many amazing mothers. I have my own mother who is my best friend, my rock – basically my first call for everything. Then I have my mother in law, an amazing woman who I have gotten to know over the 10 years I have been with her son and whom has taught me many important things; how to love her son, how to knit (I am not very good), and how to show unconditional love from a distant place. Then I have my Step Mom, who is a strong, caring woman who takes very good care of my dad, and who brought with her 2 amazing men with their own families. Most recently we also had Chris’s dad re-marry and I was given a Step-Mother in law, who brought with her a son and who has helped my father in law make more time for himself and his family (He has always been a crazy workaholic). Plus I have a sister and sister-in-law who are amazing mothers, grand mothers, grandmother in-laws and many friends who are also great moms!

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I am truly blessed by my surroundings, all the mothers in my life are strong, caring, and who are always there to lend an ear, to share some advice and to simply let me vent. This blog is going to be all about the mom’s who influence me the most – my moms. I will start with my own Mother — Felisa Craig, known to most as Lisa. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be my Mom. I would have all my friends over and play “office” and I was Lisa the Successful real estate agent who had 4 kids and who could do it all. That’s who my mom is, the one who does it all; She puts food on the table, she worked long hours, made sure all the bills were paid and that we all had new clothes, shoes that fit and all the permission slips were signed. Four kids is no easy task, I struggle daily with just 1. There were so many things I wanted to ask my Mom about being a mother, So here goes :

  1. What were your biggest fears when you were about to become a mom?
    Whether I would do a good job, having all the little voices in the background telling me how I should do it — if I didn’t listen would it be okay?
  2. What was the biggest challenge for you being a mom?
    Having enough time for each kid. 
  3. If you could freeze time and go back to an age with each of your children what age would you choose?
    Under 3, best time, best giggles. 
  4. While raising your children what was your favourite thing to do in our absence?
    Enjoy the silence – it was rare. 
  5. What advice do you give expecting mothers?
    Do not wish for the milestones, they will come, just enjoy each day. Don’t compare your children to others or books, no 2 children are the same. 
  6. If you could go back and change anything what would it be?
    Allow my children to follow their passions and not what we wanted of them
  7. What was the experience like becoming Nana?
    Amazing, overwhelming, gratifying that one of your children gave you a precious gift to share with you.
  8. What is the best part about being Nana?
    Love the hugs, the kisses, the giggles, each one is a gift from someone who you love, who gave you something new to love back.

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When I was a kid, my favorite memories are of all my family together, whether it be sitting at the table on Sunday with our friends who had slept over, or just the family. Mom making her special pancakes, Dad entertaining everyone with the story of how they met. Or going to Stanley park, and Gastown, walking around going to the old spaghetti factory, and going to the CD shop and getting a new CD. My parents always did their best to give us their full attention, they didn’t talk about work or talk about politics, they talked to us about our week, or our challenges. This is something that I know is a struggle for my husband and I as there is so many more distractions now than there was then. I am thankful for the childhood to which my parents gave me. I am thankful for the memories. It’s funny because reading my Mom’s answers I really feel like her struggles like having enough time are what holds me back most about having more, Will there be enough time for more? But my parents always gave us time and though the time alone with our parents wasn’t as often it was deeply cherished. I am so thankful for my Mom, I can’t imagine my life without her. She is truly the strongest woman I know, determined and methodical, with always more to give.

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Next Mrs Laura Vaughn, My mother in law. Where do I begin? Laura lives in Ontario so we do not see each other too often but we talk at least a few times a week. I think seeing my husband and my mother in law together is what made me know I would love being a mother to a boy. The bond seems to never go away. My husband and is mother have a strange bond and I am sure it leads back to the hockey rink, he has an intense desire to not let his mother down and to make her proud. Each thing he does he calls his mom to tell her about. At first I didn’t understand their bond, I often thought maybe it’s because she’s far away. Then Pearce was born and I understood it, he’s her little boy, her first-born. I imagine I will be the same, always holding on to my little boy.  Laura is a strong woman who works incredibly hard, her two children live in BC so she is constantly making trips out here, or bringing us out there, spoiling us with presents and sending a card for each occasion. She never forgets a birthday, a housewarming, an anniversary, there is always a card in the mail. Laura and I are very alike in that way, very thoughtful. When I married her son this summer, Laura was meticulous about the details, she made our invitations, our programs, our wine labels. She kept me on track with all of the tasks sending me reminders. Then when she came to town, she took me to a florist and she bought me the flowers for my bouquet. When your planning a small wedding these things seem pointless or they did to me, I thought why waste money on flowers, they just die. But the truth is I will probably keep my bouquet forever and Laura knew this. Laura is like me in that all the small details matter, when you go to visit you have a basket of toiletries, from the luffa, to the travel deodorant. I asked Laura the same questions I asked my mom knowing that these questions would bring us closer and give others some understanding of what the mom’s before us thought.

  1. What were your biggest fears when you were about to become a mom?
    I never feared becoming a mother, I feared doing the job properly and childbirth. 
  2. What has been the biggest challenge being a mother?
    I was extremely lucky when I had both my children that I could either take them to work or stay home with them till they went to school. When my son was born I had to balance keeping him quiet and entertained as my husband was a short-haul truck driver and worked odd hours. When my daughter was born my biggest challenge was trying to juggle my time and love between the two  of them.
  3. If you could freeze time at any age for your little ones which age would you choose?
    Frozen 4 and 2 and living in Ontario surrounded by love of a very large extended family. I still look back at this time and consider it the best time of my life. 
  4. What challenges have you encountered while raising your children?
    My biggest challenge raising my kids was being in BC away from my family. In a time with no social media, crazy long distance prices. This was a very hard adjustment. 
  5. If your children were to name something you say often what would it be?
    I need a coffee
  6. When raising your children what was your favorite thing to do in their absence?
    reading a novel or a good soak in the tub
  7. What advice do you give expecting mothers?
    Read everything you can, take advice as it is given and forget it all. No one person is right, no one is wrong. Only you know your child, Trusts your instincts but remember the advice givers mean well. 
  8. Seeing your children now as adults what things are you most proud of that you did to help them become the person they are today?
    I am very proud of how strong and independent my children are. When they were growing up we allowed them to make decisions for themselves. We felt we provided them with the tools to make the right decisions. They did make some wrong decisions along the way and we never punished them per say, but gave them support they needed to turn things around. 
  9. What was the experience like becoming Grandma?
    I have never in my lifer been so emotional as I was when my grandchildren were born. Each experience very different. I refused to leave my Daughter when she was in labor and spent every minute waiting and worrying. When young Sawyer debuted I was overcome with tears of joy and exhaustion. Worried for Colette, There is nothing more upsetting than knowing your child is in pain and you can do nothing to help. When my son’s son was born earlier than planned I missed all the text messages because of the time difference. I woke up to 30+ messages and I cried my eyes out for the fact that I wasn’t there when he needed me to be. And also for missing one of the biggest moments of his life. My daughter is due with her second and I am sure it will be very different as well 
    ** since this was written Sadie May Clarke was born and was 3 days early, Laura also  missed the birth of Miss Sadie who came very quickly. Colette did an amazing job giving birth after arriving at the hospital only 1 hour before. We couldn’t be happier to have our first niece** 
  10. How do you feel about being a grandma?
    I love being a Grandma almost as much as being a mom. My children and grandchildren are my world. I love watching them grow before my eyes and I see so much of my children in my grandchildren. I wish I was closer so I could be more involved. Maybe one day!

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When I first met Laura, She called me and told me she had searched my entire Facebook page, (I will probably do the same to any girl in Pearce’s life) and that she wanted to meet me. It wouldn’t be for a few years till we met. But Laura was very welcoming of me, we have shared many memories over the years, from me helping Laura get dressed in her wedding dress at her wedding, to decorating the hall for Chris and My wedding. Laura’s is a loving and expressive mother. I see so much of me in Laura and I know that’s why Chris loves me. I know that Laura is always only a call away for us and I know we are incredibly blessed to have such amazing mothers in our life.

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Our two steps mom are also amazing mothers, amazing cooks, and always make us feel very welcome in their home. They take the time to stay up to date on our life, and to make our dad’s extremely happy. Chris and I are blessed to have so many people in our lives who love us and love our children as their own grandchildren. Mother’s day isn’t just for our moms, it’s for our step moms, for our all the other moms.

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I want to take a moment to tell all the mothers who have lost a child, no matter the circumstances that just because your child is no longer with us, doesn’t mean you should not celebrate today, You were a mother the day your child was conceived, whether you never met your child, you spent a few days together or you had years. You were a mother, you are a mother, and your incredibly strong, empowering and I have so much respect and admiration for you and all that you have gone through. Remember that we think about you, we celebrate you as well today. Happy Mother’s day. This video was shared by Today’s Parent, I urge you to watch it so that you can better understand what these mothers go through.

 

To lighten the mood, I will also share a video about what us mothers are looking for this Mother’s Day. I hope you all have a fantastic day, remember that today is all about your love for your child and the incredible things you do for them. May today be a day for you. Video By Whats Up Mom’s

xOx Chelsea