Sabrina’s Birth Story

Sabrina Isobel Martinez
Born at 3:39 pm August 29th
7 lbs. 14 oz

I had an extremely easy pregnancy with my second daughter. Morning sickness was mild and brief, the majority of my cravings were healthy foods (fruit, yogurt and granola) I excersised comfortably for a majority of the pregnancy and even moved into a new house at 38 weeks.

For some reason throughout my pregnancy I had the feeling that Sabrina would be born during the day, and past her due date- and that’s exactly what happened. At 42 weeks pregnant, I began to have contractions about 15-20 minutes apart. They continued for an entire day without picking up, but were mild enough that they didn’t really bother me.

When I went to bed that night Laila refused to sleep without her hand on my belly, she even woke up several times in the night to sit up, look at my belly, rub it, and then go back to sleep with her little hand resting on my belly button.

I didn’t sleep that much, as the contractions began to intensify a little and Sabrina was kicking and stretching most of the night.

The next morning I woke up and was thinking to myself how many days past my due date I was, and how miserable my inevitable induction would be.
Laila however didn’t feel like laying in bed anymore and pulled me into our bathroom to brush teeth before I could give any more thought to it.

It was while we were brushing our teeth that I felt a warm gush. At first I thought I had peed myself but then I quickly realized it was something else. I ran to the toilet and realized I had lost my mucus plug. Although losing the mucus plug isn’t an immediate sign of labor, I felt that losing mine did mean that labor was near.

I put on a pad and called my mom and husband to let them know that I thought labor was near. My contractions picked up that morning and I began packing my hospital bag when they hit five minutes apart.

I went into the hospital and was hooked up to a monitor and was given a cervical check. I hate doctors, hospitals, anything medical, so I immediately began to feel nervous and my contractions slowed back to ten minutes apart until they completely stopped. I was discharged and went home so frustrated, convinced that I had stopped my labor and would definitely end up with an induction.

Once in the car my contractions started back up. Over the next few hours they intensified but I ignored them, thinking that if I returned to the hospital they would probably stall out again.

I tried going to bed that night, but as the contractions intensified I couldn’t even lay down comfortably in bed. Finally I decided to count them and they were about seven minutes apart. They continued at seven minutes until about five in the morning when they hit five minutes apart and began to intensify a little more.

I decided to call the hospital and ask if I should come back in. They told me to come back in so I went ahead and woke up my husband, had some breakfast and then called my mom to come over and watch Laila.
When we got to the hospital I was already at six centimeters.
I hate hospitals, and I hate the idea of giving birth in a hospital, but unfortunately homebirth wasn’t an option for me, so I was very focused on making my labor/birth as unhospital like as possible.

Once I was in my room, I dimmed the lights, turned on the tv and pretended I was in a hotel room. A nurse brought me a tray of fruit to snack on and I brought my own snacks as well. I stayed hydrated by eating ice chips and drinking a mixture of coconut water and lime juice (a natural electrolyte) instead of being hooked up to an IV. A lot of doctors tell their patients not to eat when in labor. Not only is it torture for a pregnant woman to go hungry all day, but labor is physically exhausting and a woman needs food to keep her body energized. My midwife advised me to snack on light, but high protein foods during labor. I ate almonds, fruit, granola, and scrambled eggs. I had so much more energy compared to my last labor.

Another regular medical procedure I declined was continuos fetal monitoring. IVs make movement difficult, but a fetal monitor strapped to your belly via one giant itchy piece of Velcro makes it impossible. Instead of continuous monitoring, a nurse would come in about every 25 minutes and check the heartbeat with a Doppler.

I also would have declined hourly cervical checks for a laundry list of reasons, (they’re uncomfortable, unnecessary, and dilation isn’t an indication of how fast labor will go) but cervical checks weren’t something the midwife routinely did for the very reasons I just listed.

Besides the nurse coming in to check the heartbeat and the midwife coming in to discuss my birth plan with me, I was spent the entire labor just me and my husband. Our room was quiet and relaxing. We just watched tv and I moved through my contractions. I almost forgot I was in the hospital.

By about three I clock my contractions were two minutes apart and I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to go through with a natural birth. I didn’t know if I was ready to push, I didn’t feel that pressure to push the baby out, but I felt like my contractions were right on top of eachother and that it was time to have the baby. I called the midwife and told her how I felt. I asked her to make sure I was dilated and ok to push because I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to feel like. She checked me and I was fully dilated, but had an anterior cervical lip (not uncommon) and my water wasn’t breaking. My options were to continue to wait for the water to break or to let her break my water for me.

At first I declined having my water broken, but then another contraction came and the midwife told me that once my water broke, I would be ready to push. I decided to go ahead and have my water broken. Within minutes I was ready to push.
For me, laying or even sitting during labor was impossible, it took contractions from being extremely uncomfortable, to being downright painful.

I don’t know if I called the midwife to the room or she heard me cry out from the last contraction but the next thing I knew I was on the bed asking if they had a birthing bar. There was one attached to the bed that she pulled up for me. I quickly realized that I didn’t want to use it because I would have to be in a ten to fifteen minute squat while pushing the baby and I was way too tired for that having been pacing since about 9 pm the night before. I decided to lean against the head of bed and push. I started pushing and I could feel Sabrina moving down. About halfway I got scared and stopped. With my first daughter, she was turned wrong and I pushed for nearly four hours. I was so scared that would happen with Sabrina again.

The midwife reassured me that Sabrina was moving, and I wouldn’t be pushing for much longer. Relieved, I pushed again and she crowned. I held her there and waited for the next contraction, bit down on the mattress (weird, but it really helped) and pushed as hard as I could and she was out.

As I pushed I was surprised that the “ring of fire” wasn’t nearly as painful as I had expected. Even though I tore a little in the front, the whole thing felt like a pinch. During the last month of the my pregnancy I did perineal massage and I really think that made the difference. I also learned from another midwife about slow crowing – waiting for another contraction after the baby crowns – to allow everything to stretch and prevent tearing.

I couldn’t believe how easy the pushing had been. The nurse next to me tapped my shoulder and said, “look down, there’s your baby”. Looking up at me with the most beautiful grey eyes and a head full of curly hair was my little Sabrina. I scooped her up in my arms and layed down on the bed while we waited for the for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating. I went to feed her and she latched perfectly. Eder cut the cord and we stayed in the room unbothered for about an hour so the three of us could bond.

I’m so glad I chose the midwife and the hospital I did. Care providers make such a difference. Natural birth was an amazing experience. The labor and birth were more peaceful and the recovery was quicker and much less painful. In fact when I was discharged I got up, did my hair and make up and wore a cute dress home. Just a week later I was hardly bleeding and felt good enough to resume most of my normal activities, which include chasing a toddler.

In my experience OBGYNs and midwives view birth very differently. Sheila Stubbs said, “The midwife sees the miracle of childbirth as normal and tends to leave it alone unless there’s trouble. The obstetrician normally sees it as trouble and if he leaves it alone, it’s a miracle.” Very true. Childbirth is definitely a miracle, something intimate and incredibly special to be shared between the mother and father with as little intervention as possible. Every woman remember her birthing experience(s) for a lifetime. It’s been almost a month now, but no matter how much time passes I’ll certainly never forget how amazing giving birth to Sabrina was.



Children are like mirrors

The past two months have been tough for me as a mom. I have been ridiculously stressed and short on patience. I think my feelings have definitely rubbed off on Laila, in addition to the fact that her molars are coming in, making for an extra cranky little girl.

One day we were having a really tough nap time. I had things to do and I just wanted Laila to go to sleep. Every time I thought I had her asleep and was clear to sneak out of the room, she would wake up crying and the process would begin again. Finally I lost it and stormed out of the room in frustration.

My husband was home that afternoon, so he took over nap time.
Once Laila was happily asleep in his arms I began ranting to him about how tired and frustrated I was.

I kept telling him over and over that I was just exhausted! I complained that something was constantly making Laila angry, there was a tantrum nearly every hour, that it had been that way for weeks! I started crying and telling him that I missed the old Laila, I missed the days when I loved being a mom and that I was so aggravated that I didn’t even want to be around Laila anymore.

I immediately regretted that last sentence. I felt like such a heartless mom, I may not have wanted to have been with Laila that afternoon, but she desperately wanted to be with me. She’s so little, her mommy is her whole world.

Then I realized that Laila wasn’t the problem at all, no matter how cranky she’d been over the past few weeks. I was the problem, my attitude towards her was the problem. I was so focused on getting things done, that I had disconnected myself from her and her needs. Instead of being empathetic and looking for a relationship from her, I was looking for convenience from her.

Children aren’t about convenience. Children have needs, constant needs. Parenting is 24/7 work. It’s about consistently putting some one else’s needs ahead of your own. I read an article entitled tough love the other day that really sums up the self sacrifice and compassion that parenting requires.

Sometimes it’s really, really hard to be patient, to look at things from a child’s point of view and empathize with them. It’s really easy to expect children to behave like adults, to be annoyed when their needs have to be met before your own.

I once read a quote that said children are like mirrors. What you pour into a child is what comes back out. That really couldn’t be more true. This week I’ve really dedicated myself to putting Laila first. I’ve worked extra hard at being patient, at getting up and dedicating time to playing with her even when I’m tired. The more love I pour into her, the more love I see her returning to me. All relationships are two way streets, we can’t be impatient, quick to anger, and demanding with our children and expect them to in turn be patient, slow to anger and easy going.

Now that Laila is nearing her second birthday I remind myself every day how fast the time has gone by, and to enjoy every minute with her that I can, because I will never have this time again. I know that this is the time of life that I will always look back on and smile.

The greatest gift my husband ever gave me

Confessions of an Elephant Momma

My husband has a pretty decent job working as a machinist at the family business, and I had an entry level position at a factory when I got pregnant. We discussed our options for after the baby was born, and decided that we could make it on one income, which meant that I could be a stay at home mom.

I was worried, at first, that it would get brought up often in arguments. I was also worried that I would have to go without luxury items, such as new clothes or new shoes. I was willing to deal with it, of course, but it still worried me. What if he gets sick of taking care of me? Will his attraction for me lessen because of my lack of independence? Will my value as an individual be compromised? Will I get lonely and become too detached from the world? I…

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Why we don’t do “date night”

I was just thinking today, how close Sabrina’s due date is to my birthday. I don’t like to take my babies out – except to see family- before the six week mark, so I will most likely be spending my birthday cuddled up in bed with my husband and my girls. Am I disappointed that I’ll be passing my birthday with a pizza and a redbox instead of dressed up in a nice restaurant with my husband? Not in the least. We gave up on the idea of date nights a long time ago, and honestly I haven’t missed them at all.

It’s amazing how much my views on parenting have changed since I had my daughter. When she was first born, I thought a date night was so important. I mean, that’s what everybody else was saying. We were told we needed to have our bed to ourselves, we needed time to ourselves, basically we needed a break from the “responsibility” not the gift of parenting. I remember the few date nights that my husband and I went on were spent mostly talking about Laila and how we missed her. I started questioning the idea that marriages wouldn’t be successful without alone time.

When Laila was about four months old, I read a great article on children and marriage that really changed my mind. It was written by a woman who had several children, and had been married for nearly 20 years. She said that because she and her husband had spent all of their time with their children, they had received several comments asking how their marriage would stay strong if they didn’t make time for each other. Her reply was so perfect, What about all the memories we made together with our children? Werent we both together these past 18 years building a family together? Exactly.

Even before Laila was born, I thought date nights and alone time was so important. I really believed our relationship would become mind numbingly boring and fall apart if we didn’t have constant entertainment. That’s really what date nights are – entertainment. Now there’s nothing wrong with a date night itself, but entertainment isn’t what builds a marriage. Thinking that we need time away from our children when they’re small and they need us – that’s not doing anything to build a marriage.

The other night Laila was sick. She woke up around one in the morning and threw up all over me, the bed, the pillows, and herself. Eder had worked a grueling day, he left the house at 5 am that morning and didn’t get home until ten, yet without question he got up and immediately cradled his sick little girl in his arms and comforted her while giving her a warm bath. Seeing my husband as a selfless, attentive father does so much more for our relationship than small talk over dinner ever could.

Since Laila’s arrival Eder and I spend a lot less time together than we did before. But our relationship is so much better. I mean a thousand times better. We don’t fight often, I spend a lot less time thinking about myself, and a lot more time serving my family, the same is true for eder.
We’re totally broke, he works crazy hours, I’m always finding something that needs to be done in the house and in between, were playing with Laila, changing her diapers, and holding her through the meltdowns that she has more frequently. Our life doesn’t look like much fun on the outside, but we are so happy. At the end of every day we curl up in front of the tv, and we know that the love we have for each other isn’t a superficial infatuation based on having fun, it’s a commitment to work at something together.

It’s sad to say, but kids won’t always be little, they won’t always want to hang out with mommy and daddy 24/7. If you think time flies, wait until you have kids. I don’t want to miss a minute of this magical, precious, but so very short, childhood. I treasure every sloppy kiss, every mispronounced word, every runny nose, everything. And so does my husband.

It’s hard not to notice how our society is so incredibly selfish. Most of this selfishness is increasingly glorified. I read a quote in time magazine, “focusing on your own pursuits over other people isn’t selfish, it’s revolutionary” I literally can’t wrap my mind around that. It’s so sad that everyone seems to be convinced that putting yourself first is the way to be happy when it’s the exact opposite. Whatever happened to “it’s better to give than to receive?”

The more I spend time with my family, the more value I place in building my home, the less time I have to sit around and compare my marriage to a Nicholas sparks movie. A lot of unhappiness comes from focusing on ourselves. Saying that a date night is what keeps a marriage strong is like saying that a marriage can’t survive without “me” time- and that children and all of their inconveniences are in the way.

I know that one day when we are retired, we’ll be playing with our grandchildren, and well reminisce about our own children. When our children are grown we’ll have plenty of time just the two of us, and our relationship will be so much deeper because of the time we spent together as a family. Children don’t stand in the way of a marriage, they enrich a marriage.

A letter to my daughter – The last days as an only child

It’s been nearly two years just you and I. I remember when you were just two pink lines on a pregnancy test. The first thing I did was put my hand on my stomach and whisper the name Laila. Even when you were just the size of a mustard seed, I knew you.

My pregnancy with you was one of the most special times of my life. I will never forget watching you kick and respond to your daddy’s voice every night while he rubbed coco butter all over my belly. We were so excited for you.

It felt like forever waiting for you to come, even though you came only one day after your estimated due date. We went to the hospital at 7:30 am, and at 9:42 pm you were born. It was amazing. You didn’t even cry, you just looked straight up into your fathers eyes, and then mine. You were the most beautiful little girl, you even had green eyes for the first few days. The way you would look into my eyes and put your little hand across my chest melted my heart every time.

You’ve grown into such an incredible little girl. I just adore your personality. You are tiny, but if another kid pushes you or hits you, you take care of yourself just fine. You have no problems with the word no, and you know how to let me know exactly what you want. You are so serious, yet so playful. You’re the sweetest, cuddliest little girl who showers me in squishy hugs and sloppy kisses, yet you have a temper to rival your mothers. You’re so very independent, bringing me my laundry from the dryer each laundry day, and laying in bed and scratching my back on the days I’m sick, you’re my favorite little helper. When I run out of patience with you, you’re quick to forgive. I know you’ll be such a smart woman one day, because you already choose to read books over watching tv. I look forward to all of the books well read together over the years.

I’ve held you close each night since the night you came into this world, but soon I will be holding another little newborn baby, your sister. These are your last days as an only child. In just a few short weeks you’ll have a little playmate and a best friend.

Our relationship is going to change, but I hope you will always know how much I love you. You are my whole world. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Every moment I’ve had with you is an irreplaceable treasure. You’re the most amazing gift that God could have given me. I’m so honored that He chose me to be your mother. You make my heart so proud just by being you.

I’m not a perfect mother, I’ve made mistakes and I will make more, but I promise that I will always strive to be your protector, your best friend, your confidant, and the best mother that I can be to you.

You changed my life, and I know for every lesson I can teach you, you will have one to teach me as well. It may not just be mama and Laila anymore, but you will always be my special girl. I can’t wait for the days of mama, Laila, and Sabrina. I know you will be just as amazing of a sister as you are a daughter.


Postpartum meal prep – breakfast

When my first daughter was born I seriously underestimated the post partum period. I was so under prepared. Well not this time around!

For the past few weeks I’ve been doubling (in some cases quadrupling) my recipes when I make breakfast and freezing the extras. My goal is to have at least a months worth of breakfast in the freezer. Actually it probably looks like two months because pregnancy hungry is tame compared to breastfeeding a newborn hungry.

For lunch we will have lots of sandwhiches, chips, and fruit and yogurt to snack on. As for dinner I will leave two weeks of ingredients and croc pot recipes for hubby. I’m hoping the croc pot will be as fool proof as I think it is.

Here is a list I’ve complied of all my favorite baked goods for breakfast courtesy of pintrist. All of these recipes are easily doubled and freeze well. The carrot cake muffins below are one of my favorites. They’re an awesome way to sneak in veggies for a picky toddler.

healthy carrot cake muffins

blueberry banana bread Laila’s favorite!

Greek yogurt pancakes

cheddar and bacon scones

cinnamon apple muffins these have bran and chia seeds which adds extra nutrition

home made egg mcmuffins

stewed stone fruits this is a list of recipes, (non freeze able) but my favorite is at the bottom.

cinnamon Amish bread

oatmeal raisin pancakes

buttermilk biscuits
These are super easy, but I do add extra salt. Scramble some eggs, a few pieces of bacon and add apple jelly to the biscuit and it’s just like being at Cracker Barrel.

Another great, simple breakfast is oatmeal. Oatmeal is the best in the first few weeks, it also helps with milk production and getting everything moving again. I make huge batches in the croc pot. Here are a few of my favorite oatmeal recipes.

apple cinnamon oatmeal

No link for this next one, just cook oatmeal in chocolate milk and add sugar and cinnamon to taste, it’s so

amaranth with pears Ok, so technically this isn’t oatmeal, it’s amaranth. Amaranth is basically quinoa, so it’s packed with protein. I buy mine in bulk at whole foods. Like quinoa it can have a bit of a bitter taste, BUT if you lightly toast it before cooking it has a nutty taste that is delicious! I love that this recipe has pears, also super good for new mamas.

Of course my mother and mother in law will be helping with food, but I’m a picky eater and I like to mostly make my own food. Now that I have breakfast covered I can relax so much easier and just wait for Sabrina’s arrival!

What a real father looks like

The other day I read an article from CNN about how today’s fathers are more involved than their fathers before them.

I loved reading an article that focused more on fathers and their importance to the family beyond being the breadwinner. There’s so much emphasis on mothers and the journey of motherhood, that sometimes I feel like fathers get a little left behind. In movies and tv we always see the woman wanting a baby, the man groaning at the responsibility of it. In the real world we see men leaving women alone to raise kids. Or the lesser of the two evils, we see men leaving all of the work for the mother, physically present but mentally absent. Of course this isn’t in every case, but I think it’s definitely become a stereotype for a reason. Growing up I always thought of having kids as “a girl thing” because I saw these stereotypes so often. My mind was blown when a friend of mine talked about her husband wanting children. There are men that actually want kids? Ok, her husband must be a little weird.

Fast forward to me being pregnant with my first child. I was so excited, and I wanted my husband to be just as excited, to come to every single appointment, to pick out every onsie, and yet at the same time I felt like saying “Ok thanks, you did your part by getting me pregnant, I’ll take it from here” Having kids is a girl thing.Throughout the entire pregnancy I flip flopped on how involved I wanted him to be. For the longest time I planned to go to the hospital alone – thankfully I came to my senses and we shared a beautiful birth experience.

My husband cried just as much as I did when Laila was born. He changed every hospital diaper, and rocked her to sleep every night. He taught me to breastfeed better than the nurses in the hospital could. He was completely amazing from pregnancy to birth and after, but I still wasn’t convinced. I just didn’t understand what place the father had, I felt like everything was supposed to rest on the mothers shoulders.

In the first few weeks I would tell my husband that I didn’t need him, I was the mom and I could do everything by myself, just take care of the money and we’d call it even. Being the patient and gentle person that he is, eder would just ignore the things that I said and continue taking care of Laila and I.

Despite my confusion as to what a father should look like, I was so impressed with my husband. I was amazed to see him happily wake up in the middle of the night with Laila despite having had a long work day.
He excitedly picked out little outfits for her, he ordered DVDs and toys for her. He instagramed pictures of her and texted me everyday to ask how she was. When he came in from work he immediately went to her. He talked about how much he missed her when he was at work, something I had only ever heard a working mom say.

When Laila is angry about something he is even more patient than I am and comforts her every time. I have never once seem him lose his temper with her, or even complain. Just last night he sat and played barbies with her while I finished up dinner. This morning he was putting her hair in a pony tail while they watched cartoons.

I really believe God put this man and our children into my life so that I could see what a father is supposed to look like. A father is the mothers support, her other half. That doesn’t mean bringing in a paycheck and considering his share of the work done. A real father understands that parenting takes two people, and delights in sharing the responsibilities. A real father is someone who puts his family first, someone who is patient with his children. He invests in his relationship with them and Ioves them unconditionally. A real father is just as involved and devoted as the mother.