My Birth Story: What I Knew & What I Thought I Knew

I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that I would be getting a C-Section, due to the extensive fibroid removal surgery I received prior. I tried to research as much as I could leading into this experience but as with anything in life, there is just so much that you can not be prepared for when it comes to how the human body works. Before I got pregnant I always wanted a water birth at home, and after watching “The Business of Birth” my mind was set. But there definitely comes a trade off when you start to intervene with science. One thing that gave me peace with having a C-Section, was listening to a birth specialist that talked about women not being filled with regret and lessening their chances of postpartum depression when they went into their birth experiences making their own decisions and not being pressured to do things outside of that. So I was at peace with knowing how my birthing process would go.  

///A huge, heart-filled thank you to the following people that helped me get through this part of my life:

  • My husband  – Artis Scott. This entire process has been a two man job , even breastfeeding …someone has to hold those little high strung arms down in the beginning.  Thank you for hitting the ground running from day one.
  • My Parents, brothers and In-Laws – so needed….so appreciative
  • My Doula – Mia Peak for answering my 1 Million Questions and being my coach/ support team & the true plug for all things baby and breastfeeding
  • My Best Friend – Creseda Hawk for helping me to transition into motherhood and dealing with all my fears week 1
  • The Snoo Bassinet – best night nurse ever lol

 

Here is how my day & night went….

 

12:00am // Can’t eat anything else to prepare for cesarean section surgery . Nerves and prayer

8am // Arrive at hospital dilated with my husband (I brought my own food since I am vegetarian, I brought my essential oils and diffuser to be at ease & I brought extra pillows – the nurse warned me that the hospital pillows sucked lol)

Doula arrives , Family arrives (ask family to wait in the waiting room for the beginning process)

10am // Gave my birth plan to the nurses, the medical team tried to enforce vaccination shots which I clearly outlined that I did not want in my birth plan but it was ignored. One of the nurses even told me that babies die from not getting vitamin K shots and although I stuck to my guns, this entire process caused me so much stress. My doula had to step in during this part

 

My nerves…

11am // The speed of everything became a blur. I am pushed into the hospital operating theater, which I remember being extremely cold, stark white and filled with extremely bright lights. They wouldn’t let my husband in their at first and I felt so alone in there in the beginning. They proceed with the spinal epidural, which kicked in immediately and I could barely flip my legs up on the bed because the entire lower half of my body had gone numb immediately. At this point they lean me back under a birthing curtain, so I couldn’t see the surgery. I requested a gentle c section curtain in the beginning, but this hospital did not offer that as of yet. At this point, they let my husband in – he was wearing his scrubs and he sat on a rolling chair right next to my head. I started to feel somewhat nauseous but was at peace at this point because now it was go time! I absolutely couldn’t feel a thing, I hear mumbling and my husband had focused his attention on watching every part of the C section and then in only a matter of minutes I heard a cry and they showed me my baby over the curtain. Everything was so surreal, that I started crying. Like wow, the cry that filled this room is MY child’s cry.

My son enters into the world at 9 full pounds! Once they cut the umbilical cord, we do skin to skin and his baby smell is intoxicating. As I start to really come back into focus, they bundle the baby up for me and wheel me out of the operating room back into my room, and that is when real life begins….

 

1:00pm // A lactation specialist comes into my room and I get to witness my son crawl his way right into breast feeding. This was truly an act of God to me, like wow …how did he know what to do so quickly and he had only been on this earth for less an hour

The Rest of the Day //  After this I wanted to sleep. But this starts the cycle of the nurses coming in and out of your room, the doctors coming in and out, the pediatrician coming in and out, family members coming in and out, the baby crying …. Sleep went out the door (the door that never seems to stay closed)

The first night, my son slept for a few hours straight. You should have seen me and my husband rejoicing, like yay we have a baby that sleeps through the night…look at God! Lol, well he never slept through the night again, while we were at the hospital and when we brought him home… EVER lol.

My baby refused to sleep in the baby bed provided by the hospital, so my husband and I took turns hopping up and running on fumes to make sure that our baby enjoyed his first few days on planet earth and also I could not bare to hear his tiny little cry without it breaking my heart.

 

Hello Baby Lungs…..

 

Back At Home //  No one told me how ridiculously hard it is to care for yourself and your baby, when you’re being held together by dissolvable stitches and tape. How you really do need help for at least a week, because it feels like your lower half is on fire due to having to get up hundreds of times throughout the day and night to feed the baby and tend to his needs. I don’t think I understood the severity of having a very serious abdominal surgery and then being thrown right into the game of raising a child IMMEDIATELY. On the second night of being home, it was around 2am – my husband had passed out due to his sleep deprivation and my baby just wouldn’t stop crying (this was before I knew you were suppose to feed on demand). My baby was staring at me crying and I was staring at him crying and we were just standing in the hallway of my home in the dark crying with each other and I was praying to God  to make all of this easier. Then you finish the pain pills and you have to bare the sensation of feeling everything, every little thing (side note, don’t hop out the bed the wrong way to get the baby or you will feel like you tore something internally again). No one mentioned how you will need major rest to heal from such a major surgery and how you will be getting none of that if you are breastfeeding. Holding such a precious miracle in your arms, helps you get through this time as best as possible but I wish I would have known the reality of it a bit more. I did get a stepping stool for my bed after day 3 , that helped a lot with getting in and out of the bed easier.

Now that we are coming to an end of his 4th trimester and I reflect back over the first few weeks of bringing my baby home, black girl magic has taken on an even higher level of meaning for me and my confidence in my ability to mother has reached an all time high.

Can I ask you a favor? If there is a new mother around you, check on her. See how she is doing, stop by and help. Like really help her as she jumps head first into a whole new normal.

XoXo,

Nicole

A Child’s Voice

Fact: validating a child’s voice early on can be life altering. It let’s them know that their voices matter and should always be heard. We can’t understand each other’s words yet, but we are learning each other’s sounds, looks, & love right now.
⠀⠀
The juggle is real … and I’m just praying & paving my way through it!

 

XOXO,

Nicole

Selected As A 2018/2019 “Know Better Live Better” Mom Ambassador

Today me and my son, Azai, had the beautiful opportunity of shooting our first mother/ son campaign for the Know Better, Live Better project. Becoming a mother is so transformational and it has changed the way I look at the world around me. We all know that chemicals are everywhere, but we don’t always know which ones influence/impact our families health. @KBLBATL has made it their mission to inform Atlanta based, pregnant women and mothers on everyday actions we can take to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals in our worlds. This is a Black woman focused initiative in connection with @cchemm. I’m excited to join forces with the Know Better, Live Better Social Impact Campaign right in time for Children’s Environmental Health Day (Oct 11). As a brand ambassador I look forward to sharing real tips, because when we know better, we live better! Stay tuned for more tips to help you make better decisions around the home for your little one.  #kblbatl #protectkidshealth #ChildrenAtTheCenter #CEHday

 

 

My Fight With Fibroids: Symptoms, Treatment and Journey

 

Imagine finding out in your 30’s that you have fibroids for the first time. Since I’ve never dealt with severe cramps or many of the typical symptoms of having fibroids, I did not know I had them until I had a routine doctor visit where my doctor alerted me that I had a fibroid the size of a four month year old baby. Then she told me if I wanted to be able to get pregnant and carry a baby full term that I needed to schedule my surgery as soon as possible. I sat in the doctor’s office stunned, like how on earth did my doctor not catch them for the last decade I have been coming for my visits, smh. I knew I had a larger stomach, but I always attributed that to being southern style thick and never knowing I was carrying around fibroids in my body. I felt like my body was immediately off balance and I wanted to run out of her office and arm myself with as much research as possible.

 

What are fibroids you might ask? Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size. They’re sometimes known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas. Once I got over the initial shock and began to talk with people around me regarding it, everyone responded to me saying “welcome to being a black woman” smh. I refused to just let that statement settle with me. I reached out to Tanika Gray (founder of The White Dress Project) to talk with her about fibroids and then I met with my holistic doctor to talk things out.

 

Symptoms: My only regret is that I wish I would have found this out in life sooner. Here are a list of symptoms that might help you or a woman you know discover if she has fibroids. Symptoms can include:

 

  • heavy periods and/or painful periods
  • Constantly going to the bathroom (pee)
  • pain or discomfort during sex
  • Stomach pain

My Treatment: After meeting with my regular doctor, my holistic doctor, and speaking to women with similar journeys – I decided to have the removal surgery since I had so many large fibroids and then come up with a natural restoration plan to keep the fibroids from growing back. The thing is, once you have the surgery to get the fibroids removed, they can grow right back if you don’t change any of your habits that attributed to their growth. I opted to get the myomectomy surgery because it leaves the uterus intact to maintain fertility. If fertility is not of interest to you,  you can choose a much simpler surgery of having the fibroids frozen out. This surgery only requires a few days of downtime. My surgery experience was truly an eye opener. I had so many fibroids that I had to have a blood transfusion right after the surgery and they only gave my 5 minutes to figure out if I wanted to proceed with that option. Following the surgery I was in a lot of pain for about 2 weeks and following that my body felt extremely off and unbalanced.

 

My Journey After:

After my surgery, I cut out dairy and meat and heavily processed foods since that is what feeds the fibroids. As I was starting on my journey to prepare for pregnancy, I could not afford for them to grow back – nor would I EVER go through that surgery again. I listed a few items and resources below that helped me restore by body and strengthen my womb after getting my fibroids removed.

 

  • Yoni Pearls (to detox)
  • Herb Lady’s Womb Detox (I purchased at Sevananda in Atlanta and her website is www.herbsista.com)
  • Hip Baths – I consistently did the hip baths (aka herbal vagi steam) at JeJu Spa to help tighten everything internally after having such a large surgery
  • Juice Fast – I worked with Vanya Francis to do a 30 day juice fast to help my body get back to a place of peace ( @VanyaCamille ) 
  • Alkaline Water – this has become a staple in my diet
  • Tierra Goes Green – I joined her vegetarian coaching program and it really helped me from the inside out (https://tgg-tierra-goes-green.myshopify.com/) 

 

Resources I Used:

Creating our NEW family budget

Creating our NEW family budget 

 

For the first 30 years of my life, I have only had to worry about my finances – mine and mine alone.  Then I got married and had to readjust my money mindset, to being transparent and open financially. 

2018, enter in our baby.

Becoming a parent is the most life-changing event that many will experience. You are suddenly not only responsible for yourself, but also another person who depends on you for everything.

Since his first day on this earth our son, Azai, has been the an indescribable joy in our lives and an unexplainable love in our hearts. But, he has also wracked up a pretty penny as soon as he exited the womb. From hospital bills, to insurance fees, to lactation consultants, and more. No matter how prepared you are, there are always a few surprises that are sure to catch you off guard with a baby. 

I want to share my checklist with you of things we needed to handle when Azai was born. My adulting has reached a whole new level so quickly, lol. I would love to hear your feedback and additions to this list. 

P.S. Also, another tip in the world of money, is to freeze your child’s credit for now. This will keep any identity theft from happening, since you are usually not actively paying attention to a young human’s financial reports. 

Our Gender Reveal

Our Ferris Wheel Gender Reveal

As we crossed into the safety zone of our second trimester, it was time to start thinking about our gender reveal. I knew I wanted it to incorporate the spirit of Atlanta, my city that I truly adored but I was stuck on how to bring it all together and make it make sense. My husband came up with the idea of doing it at the SkyView ferris wheel downtown. When you are pregnant at 35 and up or what the medical field likes to call,  “a mature momma”, you are tested throughout your pregnancy way more frequently. I actually had the test results of my baby’s sex at month two. So I had to sit on this secret for longer than my nerves could bare. Luckily the results were stored in my online patient portal, which I let my brother log in to and he was able to set up the details of the gender reveal with the ferris wheel company. Doing it this way allowed my husband and I the opportunity to surprised right along with your family and friends at the reveal. 

The night was beautiful. One thing to remember is that you have to do the ferris reveal once it gets dark so the light show will shine vibrantly. We had our guests meet at the wheel and had our out of town family log onto our Facebook live so they could get in on the fun. After everyone rode the ferris wheel, we stood below it and watched the pink and blue light show on the wheel until it ended up on the last color which was blue (#TeamBoy). I’ve included some of our pics below.

Theme: Curious George

STYLED BY: F.I.L.A. *wink*

Occasion: Baby Gender Reveal

Location: SkyView Atlanta

 

Photography: Shawn Bell 

Video Of Our Crazy Countdown: https://www.facebook.com/thegarnercircle/videos/a.10160126181835051/10160126182375051/?type=3

 

Beat Chips and Homemade Hummus

Beat Chips and Homemade Hummus

PALEO / GLUTEN FREE/ VEGAN / WHOLE30

 

I consider myself to be plant eater married to a meat eater, so the pressure is heightened for me to create meals that makes my family not miss the taste of meat. I started my journey of crossing over to the plant based side when I became a pescatarian in college.  I became completely plant based once I discovered I had fibroids and I wanted to completely take control of my health and body.  With a new baby, time is not always on my side. So I am always looking for quick ways to infuse healthy recipes into my family menu.

Yesterday I picked up a few bags of cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s, but wasn’t really feeling like doing a stir fry. So I decided to try a tangy, garlicky dip,  it came out good. If you don’t have cauliflower rice, just use one large head of cauliflower, and you’ll be good to go.

I decided to serve this with  Beet Chips from Bare Snacks or you can grab some from Whole Foods to round out this gluten free dish.

INGREDIENTS

1 16 oz package of Cauliflower Rice 

3 cloves garlic

3 tb olive oil

2 tb tahini

3/4 tsp sea salt

Juice of one lemon

Pepper to taste

Optional seasonings: turmeric, garlic powder, paprika, and more olive oil to drizzle on top

INSTRUCTIONS

Steam cauliflower and the garlic cloves. Don’t skip this step, as this is what makes the dip nice and creamy.

Next, add cauliflower, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt into a high speed blender or a food processor. Blend until nice and creamy. Add pepper to taste, as well as any additional seasonings.

Transfer the dip to a bowl, drizzle more olive oil on top, and pair with your favorite crunchy dip vehicle (tortilla chips, beet chips, you name it!). Enjoy!

~ NGS

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