Friday, June 29, 2018

Rookie Road Trip with Baby

Originally I planned for this to be a travel blog, cataloging the place we adventured around.   Older stories on this blog cover  Bulgaria, Turkey, Arizona, and coastal South Carolina.  If I bothered to go through old journals, there are some anecdotes on solo travel across Europe.

The only rule we've ever had for trips was- we can only go where we've never been before.  Ever heard that rules were meant to be broken?  We make some repeat trips over night, and some day trips where we stretched the rule since we'd never been there TOGETHER.

Day trips started to breach our cardinal rule about the second or third year we were married as we began to have favorites.  Mostly places in around Asheville, NC.  A few down on the coast of SC as well. There was one week we went from the sea to the mountains! (Not a difficult feat for someone in the Carolinas.)

Now that we have someone traveling with us who new to everything all is up for grabs!  Traveling with an infant gets interesting.  We have yet to go on a plane with the baby, but several road trips have been made!

The first out of town trip was to Kentucky for a wedding at 2 months old.  We packed up the rental car with enough stuff for a night in the mountains and headed up the day of the wedding.  Sans baby, the trip is 4 hours from our home in South Carolina.   With an infant who was breastfeeding every 2 hours, it took us a bit longer.  Leaving in the morning, we stopped 2 hours in to feed baby and do some quick shopping.   Johnson City Kohls provided the perfect place for my husband to grab a shirt for the wedding while I popped into the dressing room and nursed the sleepy/hangry baby.

By the time we were back out at the car- time to change a dirty!  Note: SUVs are the best for road trips with babies.  Much easier to change diapers in.

From there it a straight(ish) shot to Harlan.

Going on a road trip to the mountains is not what I would recommend for a baby's first trip.  As you ascend or descend the air pressure change affects them, building up inside their ears causing pain/discomfort. For older children it may not bother them, and growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountain range I've never thought twice about it. My infant definitely let me know her discomfort.   Before this trip she was really great in the car!  By the end of it, she began to fuss anytime you set her in the car seat.
Thankfully we had my mother-in-law with us on this trip.  I would highly recommend either planning riding in the back with you baby on their first road trip or inviting a friend or family member to tag along.  If left back there by themselves, you will find yourself crawling back there, sometimes mid-traffic to deal with a needy infant.  And they have NEEDS.  This is  not a recommended time to try the "cry it out" method.  At 2 months, they are crying because they're hungry, dirty, or in pain. Plan to accommodate and care for your infant on the road the same as you would at home.

Add an hour or two to your travel time.  Don't just expect to stop to care for the baby.  Plan to stop around the time they usually feed.  Don't rush anything.  Make sure your car has plenty of space. Pack what you need, but don't overfill the car.  Space is more important than stuff you can do without or buy once you get to your destination. (ex: disposable, one use items.)

I can't remember if we took the pack n' play with us, because we didn't use it.  Since we stayed with family, they held her a lot and let me sleep for a while after the wedding.  (oh sweet bliss!!)  When I got up to nurse her,  I just stayed out in the living room with her since she was sleeping so well on the couch.  By sleeping well, I mean she was on her stomach arms out, completely relaxed and not going anywhere.  Up till then she had slept swaddled in her bassinet, but her favorite place to nap was spread eagle on top of someone.  (usually mom, dad, or grandma)

A lot of sources will not recommend sleeping on the couch with your infant- FOR GOOD REASON!  This was simply the easiest way to let her sleep for the one night of our trip.  I didn't sleep.  I flipped through channels the rest of the night trying dodge Gaither Vocal band ads, resting as she slept and nursing her when she woke up.  I discovered early on in motherhood that as long as I got 4 hours of sleep I could function pretty well.

The trip back the next day was pretty uneventful till it started to get dark.  For some reason, the later the trip lasted, the fussier she became.  Again, stopping every 2 hours was necessary and this time I rode with her in the back towards the end to try to keep her calm. 

So overall- great trip!  I woudl definitely recommend visiting family for their first road trip, extending your travel time, and packing light to conserve space. If you can, make sure you don't have drastic elevation changes or travel during the evening/night. 

For those of you who have traveled with infants- what were your experiences?  Where did you go?  Would you do it again?  What was a game changer for you?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Balancing those Boundaries! (..and baring my soul-just a tad)

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of new topics to write about. 

Should I write about PPD?  Breastfeeding?  Recovery? Should I try to start a dialogue about parenting?

Recently, in taking stock of my well being, I've noticed a shift.  A shift in my attitude.  I'm more confident.   I'm able to be genuinely cheerful at work.  Smiling isn't as hard. 

Do I still overthink stuff? Yes.  Am I overly anxious about other's opinions? OH yeah!  Running through hypothetical scenarios where I'm being verbally/emotionally/physically attacked though my head and coming up with solutions and re-rebuttals?  Definitely.

I will always deal with anxiety.   And as a mother the worst case scenarios can be all consuming.  But I can choose to not be ruled by them.  Practicing grounding principals, setting an evening routine,  choosing to let go of insecurities and trust my partner and support group- these have helped me immensely.

Setting boundaries in my life has been huge.   Anxiety over my career wasn't lessened by becoming a mother.  In fact- it was MAGNIFIED.   How were we going to afford this?  How could we provide for our kid?  If we wanted more children (and we do), how would that work?

Also, when you don't feel satisfied or fulfilled at your job this makes for a compounded problem.  

But BOUNDARIES.  Those helped me re-evaluate the insecurities and hold the anxiety at bay.  Work is left at work.  At home, only my family has priority.  

When I'm at work, I'm 100% invested in whats going on, even if I feel unfulfilled by it.  I go to work because I love my family and it is what is needed to make ends meet.  Where I work is pretty cool and has some really great people.  I've also learned and grown there. But its not a "calling" for me.  I'm simply grateful for the opportunity provided.  Maybe one day I'll find a field I'm passionate about that also provides a sustainable income and benefits.

Thankfully where I work is very family friendly and understand that I need to pump.  To be available for family emergencies or events.  While I can't leave my desk to run errands or go to appointments, I can take calls and address things from my desk when needed.  There are times when I wish I could take off early because I feel like there are things at my house that need my attention more than work.

I feel more fulfilled and purposeful taking care of my family than I do in my "career."  That's no the case for everyone.  And this post is not to shame those who feel differently.  This is simply how I feel about my life and circumstances, cope with and enjoy them.  My children and husband will always be my highest priority and I get more joy from caring for them than anything else.  So as I leave my kid each morning, I remind myself that I do this for her.

Your next question may be, " Ok, but don't you need to take care of yourself?"  Yes, yes I do.   That's where BOUNDARIES come in.  Boundaries and balance. 

While at work, I handle work first and answer personal calls/texts after completing a task.  When at home, my phone gets set down and rarely picked up.  I even tend to miss calls from my husband!  My focus is on enjoying my time with my daughter, while also trying to catch up on stuff like cleaning, laundry, dinner, meal prep, and any errands that need to be done. Having a clean house and good dinner is a type of self-love for me.  Sure, not all the messes are mine, but I'm not cleaning them because I'm expected to.  I take care of it because I want to. 

Changing diapers, kissing boo-boos, cooking dinner, wiping up messes.  All these things are fulfilling to me. They are not meaningless.  They do not go unnoticed.  I'm rewarded sometimes with tears, screams, more food on the carpet, or a plate of uneaten food left on the counter.  Other times there are hugs, sloppy kisses, giggles, and lots of sweet, cozy snuggles.  There's a balance.  It might not be what was initially envisioned at the time, but its there.  All of the above means more to me than any kudos from a boss, bonus, or perks.  The job is temporary in the long term, its a means to an end.  My family?  My family is that end the means are for. Does that make sense?

So much love for all of you who made it through this week's rambling post!   

I hope that sharing my thoughts and feelings wasn't too weird and that maybe some of you are able to relate.  Feel free to share in the comments below YOUR thoughts and feeling about family, work, callings, and boundaries you've found to be useful!

Also, do have any questions about being a new mom and going back to work?  OR are there any topics you're interested in reading about?

Let me know!  I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, June 8, 2018

5 Items You'll Want Post-Delivery (and other tips)

Now I know I'm going to be leaving out a lot of items that other sites and people list for the hospital bag.   The purpose of these Top 5 posts are to highlight helpful/necessary items to assist those easily overwhelmed and who may tend to over-pack. 
As someone who struggles with anxiety (social and otherwise), I find it helpful to narrow down and simplify.   Its ok to make-do and be comfortable with less.  I may not be the most fashion forward minimalist, but I tend to cut out stuff if forgetting something is triggering anxiety that causes me to shut down.  I would rather be present mentally and emotionally for those around me, than worry about THINGS.

You may operate completely differently.  I think some people thrive on creature comforts and having them in a foreign situation is a necessity.  My comfort is my husband.  As long as I have him near me, I can think more clearly and feel more stable emotionally. 

My room in Labor/Delivery wasn't luxe.  It wasn't a birthing center.  It was comfortable enough. And I honestly didn't ever open my bag there.  Everything I used from home I used in the Recovery Room and it was interesting toting everything from one room to another.  The bed they wheeled me out on had stuffed piled high at the foot. Next time- I think I'll condense it a bit more...

If told to pick only five items, to pack it would be these. 


Because it gets chilly and it helps with modesty when you have a ton of family and friends popping by to see the baby.  Mine was a light, jersey knit which I proceeded to live in for 3 months.

Nursing Tank:

It takes a lot of stress out your life.  I didn't wear this till after my first shower because I didn't have a problem wearing the hospital night gowns provided.  I never wear night gowns at home so I didn't want to spend money on something just to be "cute" for a little while.

Maternity pants/leggings:

 I took some loose harem pants with me that I had been wearing the last month I was pregnant.   Again, I didn't wear them till I left, but they were SO COMFY.  Take whatever pants you are currently in a love affair with.

Nipple Cream: 

You are gonna love this the first day/night.  And you will worship it the first month.  Dry, chapped, bleeding nipples are a fact of life with a new born and this stuff is a miracle worker.  Life hack: COCONUT OIL.   I used my lanolin based stuff in the hospital, but ended up using coconut oil once I got home and forgot all about the other stuff.  A little goes a long way!

New Born Outfit with Mittens: 

You will need something for your kid to wear even though they are swaddled and given a hat.  We brought 2 in case one didn't fit.  One in new born size and one 0-3 months, both pre-washed.  Make sure you have mittens and socks packed with this outfit.  Newborns have some wicked sharp fingernails!

There are of course more items that could be added to this list.  Toiletries, towel, socks, camera, ect.
But everyone has different styles/needs and I'll leave your personal toiletries up to you! (For example: not everyone is blind as me and needs extra contacts and solution!)

 I would make 2 addendums to the list. 

Bra pads and shower shoes. 

Neither will be provided by the hospital and you will need BOTH. 

A lot of packing lists out there will tell you to pack stuff for "down there" post-partum care.  I never used the stuff I bought online according to various recommendations.  In the end, all I needed was what my nurse gave me and showed me how to use.  With some light tearing and a few stitches, they provided all the care I needed and sent me home with the following items.  During my maternity leave,  I never bought/used anything extra than some comfy undies and disposable night pads with wings.

I realize that some of these items are completely foreign to most people, so I'm including some pictures below for visual reference. 
Peri Bottle. 
Washing down there was never so easy!
This spray was introduced by my aftercare nurse and helped a lot. 

Sitz Bath:  I added ice to mine, and did it daily for 2 weeks. 
The bubbly coolness was heaven. 

The nurses also kept me supplied with basic pain killers like Tylenol and gave me stool softeners.  Go ahead and make sure you have those handy at home if you don't already.

I hope these past few posts have been informative and helpful!  Let me know what your experiences were!  I'd really like to hear from you guys who had c-sections or had a natural birth.   Each birth experience is unique and I love hearing your stories. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

5 Items Recommended by Veteran Moms

So, I had some great feed back from other moms with their top 5 items!  Some were items of clothing which I was planning on putting on another list for after you are moved to the room you recover in with baby post-delivery.  Those will be included on the Recovery List.

Below is the Top 5 recommended items list: 

These did not make my previous list for Labor and Delivery since I didn't use them in that room or feel like I needed them.  However, they may make life more comfortable for you and definitely made a huge difference for some mothers!

One mom on Facebook made a great point that her hospital staff weren't that great at finding some stuff for her.  Sadly, not all hospitals are equal.   Ask other mom's who have delivered at your hospital before what their experience was like. This will give you a good idea what you may want to pack.

Ya'll-  I'm having so much fun putting these Top 5 graphics together!  Even when my kid is pulling out ALL the Q-Tips and the laptop is on top of the changing table.  Mom life- so sweet.  

Next up! Top 5 for Post Delivery!  Hopefully these bite size lists are informative and helpful!  My goal is to help those facing anxiety when considering pregnancy.

Friday, June 1, 2018

5 Things You Will Regret Leaving Behind

Hey there! 

So I took a break from writing about the second half of my hospital stay to focus on some real life issues I've been struggling with.  But we're back to the story today, after a Memorial Day weekend hiatus form writing. 

Some dear friends have come across those helpful lists that are posted, detailing everything you could possibly need for your labor and recovery.
And they were a tad overwhelmed. Rightly so.  

A lot of the stuff you pack for labor and delivery (if you are going to the hospital) is the same stuff you pack for any overnight trip!  Don't stress about it.  Don't over think.  Above all, refrain from over-packing.  Your husband is awesome, I'm sure. But you guys really don't want to be hauling 5 different bags around the hospital.  Yes, FIVE.  Because you at 35 weeks are a hormonal MESS and nesting like a fiend.  There will be YOUR bag, the baby's, the hubby's, and then everything you thought of or read of and couldn't fit into one of the 3 already packed.

Think of going to the hospital or birthing center as going to grandma's.  

They have most of what you need and are going to take the best care of you they can.  Don't worry.  If you forget something - they'll have it.  If not, chances are there is enough family around to go grab it for you.  (I still have the fluffy slipper socks my mom brought me during my stay!)

I'll be frank.  My lists may not work for you.   You may find that you have different needs.  For example, I didn't elect to have a c-section or schedule an induction.  I'm also a minimalist.  For most of our marriage we have always had our backpacks ready to grab for a spontaneous overnight trip or hike.  That usually means a light backpack with basic toiletries, clean undies, and a protein bar.

My lists are going to highlight useful items.  They are not comprehensive packing lists.  There are definitely things I bought that I have never used.  I used a lot of the hospital's stuff because it was convenient and already on hand.  You may find, like I did, that its easier than getting up to rummage through your bag.

Stay tuned- 
Top 5 items for Recovery and a Top 5 items I never used coming soon!

Till then, please enjoy the following input from a mama friend who went through 2 c-sections. 

Please let me know in the comments what you remember missing most or helping the best!

Friday, May 18, 2018


Contentment.  To be satisfied and happy.  

Am I content?   I'm content with certain aspects of my life.  As a mother, I'm content.  As a wife, I'm content.  As a daughter in law, I'm content.  As a friend, I'm content.  But there are areas in my life I am not.  In fact, I'm so far from contentment in those areas its embarrassing.  I am thankful and GRATEFUL, but I am certainly not content.

As a perfectionist, oldest child, and relentless need for affirmation in my life, there are huge areas which elude all sense of satisfaction and happiness for long periods of time.  To name a few: appearance, career, and home. 

Most women (and men) are never satisfied with their appearance.  Oftentimes due to health or time constraints it is out of our control.   Career, is dictated by work experience and degrees of education.  Home, seriously.  What woman do you know keeps a perfect house? WITHOUT A MAID OR INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS. (Sorry Joanna Gaines and Martha Stewart...ya'll don't count as human here) News flash: they don't.

I struggle so much.  And my discontentment bleeds into those other areas of my life that are amazing and give me purpose and joy.  I don't want my bad attitude to poison the lovely things in my life.  When I'm home with the 2 most amazing people in my life,  I want to enjoy and encourage them.  Not complain and mope. 

Like I mentioned before, I am thankful- grateful for my overall health, job, and home.  Heck, we have a home! We have a roof that doesn't leak.  The AC and heat work wonderfully. There are no plumbing issues, mold, or infestations.  (I'm really jinxing myself here aren't I?)  I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to complain about.  Yet all I can think of is ..."Man, I really need to empty and organize the spare room.  The shower needs scrubbing- BAD! The bedroom needs to be painted, the living room paint needs to be patched up- and the carpet is fraying where it meets the kitchen linoleum."  The list goes on.  I feel like a failure because I make significantly less than my husband even though we graduated from the same university with the same exact degree.  Maybe if I made more I could contribute to the house and actually make it more of a home.   As it is, I work 40 hours a week and some days making dinner is my one huge accomplishment.

Being a working mom means that your house, unless you have help, will not look like your Pinterest page.  Having a clean house, usually means that your kid wasn't there for the whole day.  

I love a clean house.  I actually enjoy cleaning.  Especially my kitchen.  Its a high effort, high reward kinda deal.  One of my favorite things to do is organize!  It kills me that my closet looks like Hurricane Ali ran through and then gusted through another 6 times.

There are so many excuses I could make.  I will eventually scrub my shower.  (read: this weekend) My closet will get organized. Or at least the clothes will be washed and folded into neat stacks.  The bathroom mirror will finally get that much needed wipe down.

I know I'm doing this out of order, but I really can't go too much into my discontentment at work for obvious reasons.  Some days are better than others.  I'm grateful for my job.  Quitting is not an option.  Losing it would terrify me.  And maybe that's the root of my discontentment: fear.

When we are discontent, we are living in fear.  Fear of other people's opinions.  Fear of our own personal expectations. (If you've read my other blog posts you realize how much expectations truly are your enemy!) Fear of the unknown.  Just writing this has helped me identify my fears and refocus. 

It's like seeing a huge shadow out the corner of your eye.  Terrifyingly huge and ominous, you ignore it but can't stop thinking about.  The anxiety builds up, feeding off our skewed perception.  The fear is suffocating, taking up so much room in our minds that it leaves no room for joy. I don't want to live like that anymore.

Writing helps me to turn around and look at what is making that huge, ominous shadow.   To identify it as the small thing it truly is and not the distorted image cast on the edges of my mind.  The house will be alright.  My job provides for my family.  I am not as ugly or out of shape as I think. I will no longer let fear rob me of my happiness and satisfaction in life!

What are you discontent with?  Is it something you can change?  Is it a change you fear? Identify it.  Allow yourself to cry.  Take the adrenaline from your frustration and go run, lift weights, or create something!  

I'm not a licensed anything. MY solutions may not be the ones you need.  This is simply me sharing my story, hoping that my brokenness leads to someone else's wholeness.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

First off: HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  To all mothers everywhere!

Here I continue the story of how I became a mother.

Everyone has expectations for labor.   Everyone has a different experience.   Lucky for you guys this tale is pretty G-rated.

There are several stages of labor and differing ways to "induce" labor.  I had already experienced Early Labor and some Active Labor by  the beginning of my third trimester.  Since I was already dilated to a 6 a month before my due date, my doctors warned me to come in once I experienced contractions less than 5 minutes apart.  They expected this baby to come FAST.

I made it up to the week of my due date, working up to the last week of my pregnancy.   At my final check up we made the decision to a membrane sweep 2 days before the "official" date to get things moving along and check on baby.  This was how that week went leading up to labor.

Monday: First day off work. Baby due Thursday.  I cleaned house, scrubbed floors, organized, and tried to stay busy.  I hated waiting and had binged my favorite Netflix already when I had been sick a few months back.  There was a lot of yoga ball time.  I also drank as much Raspberry Leaf tea as I could.

Tuesday: Second day off work.  Went to the OB's office.  Everything was good!  So dilated, I didn't feel the membrane sweep.  Doctor confirmed that she could feel the baby's head and we listened the the heartbeat.  Back at the house I found more stuff to clean, hung out on my yoga ball, and drank more tea!

Wednesday: Third day off work.  Got a bit stir crazy. Walked a lot.  Made sure the fridge and freezer were stocked and ready.  My house would be clean for the next month!  Sam and I made sure we enjoyed what time we had together as just the 2 of us.  We visited some family, listened to stories of Costa Rica, ate some VERY good dark chocolate, and went home.  Yes, Dark Chocolate is one of those things that are supposed to help induce labor.  The rest of the evening was nice and quiet.   I took a nice, long relaxing shower and took time with my hair afterwards.

Still Wednesday:  Have you ever heard of the Bloody Show?  or the Mucus Plug?  Well you should.  Because both things show up wayyyy before the infamous Water Break.  They compose the layers that separate the sack your baby is in from the opening the baby will come out.  They are removed when the baby is pushing downward because the uterus is constricting.  Their names are descriptive enough for you to figure out what to look for as a pregnant woman.  Mucus and light blood.  Most women don't even notice it since the blood is usually so light. Especially if they have already experience spotting throughout the pregnancy.

Welp, mine SHOWED that evening.   I took it easy and waited for noticeable/painful contractions.  Having already experienced them earlier in my pregnancy, it was pretty easy to identify the stronger ones when they came.  And did they!   Within an hour they were 5 min apart and as we drove to the hospital they got to less than 4 min apart.

We were admitted and shown to a room to monitor my contractions before being taken to Labor and Delivery.  It was probably around 11pm.  By then the contractions were steadily 3-4 min apart.  They hooked me up to a monitor and supplied me with a yoga ball in the Labor/Delivery room. They offered me an epidural when I was admitted, but I declined since the pain was still manageable and my water hadn't broke yet.

I was tired.  I kept moving about during the contractions, utilizing the ball and walking around.  At times I laid on my side.  For some reason, the contractions slowed down again.  This was frustrating since I had been hoping for a relatively fast labor.  BUT it was a blessing in disguise since it gave me the opportunity to rest, and catch my breath before the big show.

Thursday: By 7 am my water still had not broke on its own.  We decided my OB would go ahead and do the honors.  Again, no pain, just warm liquid running down my leg. (yup, ladies its just like wetting your pants) Once that was out of the way, the REALLY BIG ONES came.  Fast and furious.  The kind that have you arching your back and clinging to the bed rail. any movement at all that could distract. 

Unfortunately for me, the pain on my right side was unbearable.  I had been experiencing severe groin/pelvic pain near my right hip for the last month, chalking it up to the baby's position pinching a nerve.  During labor, there was pressure and pain on my left side, but it was not the blinding sharpness that I had on my right.  My body went into shock from the pain and I began to throw up, my body in tremors.  At this point I realized that I would probably blackout.  I had no control over my body and its reactions at this point.  It wasn't responding, just going into shock.

Since they already had to hook me up to an IV for penicillin because I was Strep B positive, I decided to go ahead and try an epidural.  What the heck?  I was already stuck with one needle and was having trouble not throwing up my guts.  The nurse (I loved her, still remember her name too!) had me sit on the edge of the bed and held me while the doctor administered the epidural.  I didn't see it, didn't even feel it.  They talked me through it and explained what I should be feeling and how it would work once in place and secured.  They even explained that they could go higher up my spine if  needed since for some people the epidural was less effective lower down.  They go lower initially so that the woman is able to be more aware of whats going on and push effectively without harming herself.  In my case, because apparently I have some scoliosis (which I wouldn't have found out without getting the epidural), I had to have them return to adjust the epidural.

I realize for some women at some hospitals this is traumatic.  My experience was far from traumatic.  The doctor and nurse were amazing.  The adjustment went exactly like the first, painless. No discomfort.  Seriously, I had the best team on the floor that morning. The only thing that hurt was the tape they had used to anchor the first needle and had to rip off in order to make the adjustment.  Once the epidural was in place, I had control of how much was administered.  The tremors went away, I was able to eat some Italian ice (lemonade flavored - YUM!!) and the parade began.

So, no one tells you this, but when you are the oldest children on both sides and your families both live in town EVERYONE SHOWS UP.  There was a constant parade of people coming in and out to check on me and how I was progressing.  The epidural didn't slow down my contractions too much since I was already well into Transition phase when I received it.  By then I was probably 12-14 hours into labor.  The doctor visited and checked the dilation every once in a while.

I was able to relax, my husband and his 2 youngest brothers came in and goofed off on the peanut ball (big yoga ball shaped like Mr. Peanut).  They put on a sock show, cracked jokes and kept me laughing.  I distinctly remember just wanting to watch old cartoons.  I had the Flintstones theme song running through my head and intermittently muttering "Yabadabadoo!"  It was a good time.

Eventually, sometime that afternoon it was show time.  For those wondering, yes, I hadn't eaten solid food since the day before.  I had been in labor over 12 hrs and been moving around or dozing for over half of that before I ever was attached to an IV, epidural, and catheter (which didn't register to me till later- that how good my nurse was).

To revisit the subject of family again- don't be afraid to kick people out.  The only people who need to be with you are the doctor and nurse and the father of your child.   Anyone else has no business there unless you specifically invited them to be present.  Part of the nurse's job is to make sure her workspace is cleared for her and the doctor to successfully and safely deliver your baby.   Let her kick anyone out that is not contributing to the delivery.  Mine did and I loved her for it.

There was only one person I hadn't planned on being there.  My sister. She 10 years younger than me, but happened to be on visiting rotation when the doctor said it was time.   I didn't think twice about letting her stay.  The nurse and doctor directed her and my husband as they coached me to push.  My sister was on my left and my husband was on my right.  Since my legs were numb from the epidural,  they held my legs and spoke encouragement as I curled up my torso and used the abdominal muscles I'd toned most my life.  I can't remember exactly how many it took, but it was around 3-5 pushes and Lucy was out.  Definitely 3 to get her head all the way out and a couple more for good measure.

She was ready and rarin' to go when she came.  The doctor had a bit of a shock when Lucy turned her head as sh4 left the birth canal.   Apparently new-borns don't typically have that type of muscle control.  (you know, the whole "they can't support their head" thing) She was wiped down, checked, and cord cut - not all in that order!  Almost immediately,  I was holding my baby girl in my arms, soothing her shocked newborn tears as she adjusted to her new environment.  I will never forget those moments.

As I wrap up this post on Mother's Day morning, I'm sitting on the floor in my pjs.  My daughter is clinging to my arm and crawling all over me.  And I couldn't be happier.