Life

Taking Control of my Health: First Wellness Entry

A while ago I started a series where I thought I would lose weight and begin being healthy again. I was pregnant soon after and that was forgotten after the many days of morning sickness along with being exhausted. Now at postpartum, breastfeeding and avoiding caffeine for the sake of it all, I felt the need to take control of myself again. To take the chance to change my eating habits little by little.

I have admit, this has been a mixture of good and not so good. I am still getting into groove with being a mother to a newborn again. My older ASD son has therapies 20 plus hours a week, sleep deprived, Pumping, part-time job, full time online student and still wanting to connect again socially. It’s overwhelming at times since time management can go out the window when my days aren’t planned. Kids are wild cards and life can throw things at you at full speed. Most days I have a grasp but others I lose track of when I ate and what will I eat.

Not knowing what to eat and making meals consumed my time. All I was consuming were essentially my lactation brownies, water, milk, and dinner if the kid allowed. Most days we ordered dinner and I did my best for it to be something not too unhealthy. It’s difficult feeding yourself when you have two other kids who need your undivided attention.

I desperately searched for anything that I could possibly drink or have. My protein shakes that I love contained more caffeine than needed and while breastfeeding that can be an issue. My best bet was Amazon Fresh and I luckily came across these personal salad bowls that came with different ingredients and dressing so you can enjoy different flavor profiles without worry what to eat or preparing ingredients since its all there for you to mix. I also order some small servings of fruits to serve and snack throughout the day if needed. Planters Nut-rition pack snacks, cheese sticks, Sargento Balanced breaks with cheddar cheese, and tried to have dinners where protein was the main focus. Eventually I came across a meal plan service called Splendid Spoon and ordered that to try out. They have different plans and I opted for 5 smoothies and 5 plant based meals to start off.

First of all, I am one of those people that when it comes to smoothies I can be a bit put off by ingredients and taste. Of course, the smoothies blends are great for anyone used to drinking healthy already. I t was intimidating for me personally but I managed to drink all five this past week without thinking about it much. As for the plant based food I definitely have enjoyed eating them. My favorites so far are Vegetable Bolognese and Beans with Greens. The Cuban Bowl I enjoyed as well but it didn’t have the flavor profile I was expecting but I would order it again perhaps. I am still getting through the meals and will update which others I enjoy.

It’s been about two weeks since I started to eat healthier and I have to say that it is important what we put into our bodies to fuel it. I have a bit more energy than before and I do take into account that I’m breastfeeding so I do up my calories a bit to fit my goals and make sure I eat and snack a bit throughout the day. My portions are reduced and taking into account my weight before being pregnant with my second. I’ve lost about 20 lbs so far. I hit a plateau where now I go up and down 1 pound but I am happy to be fitting better in my favorite shorts again. I will update more as I go and hopefully I keep myself motivated this time. Once I’m healed and ready to go I might add some work outs. Squats at home? Walking with a stroller? Both? We shall see!

Life

Opening about D-MER: Not Every Breastfeeding Journey is a Happy One

What’s D-MER you ask? Not a lot of people know of it or talk about it. To be honest I hadn’t heard of it either until I had my 2018 baby. For those that don’t know D-MER is Dysphoria Milk Ejection Reflex (let down).

What it does is once breast milk starts to “let down” these feelings begin to stir that are negative. There’s so many ways I could describe it but on most days I feel as though theirs this emptiness in my stomach and a knot in my throat. I dread this feeling every time I pump since so many thoughts arise from it. Back in 2018, I thought I was going through Postpartum depression but odd enough I would only feel this when pumping. Outside of pumping I was mostly okay and felt tired. I was relieved to not be pumping until I had to pump again a few hours later. The cycle was endless and the anxiety would built up the first few minutes of pumping and slowly dissolved towards the end. The relief after was like a breath of fresh air.

I will admit, I have experienced panic attacks in my life and I can say that D-MER can feel similar to the build up of a panic attack. It messes with your mental health. It can make you feel alone and hopeless in that moment. Especially such a vulnerable moment such as breastfeeding or pumping. I was a healing mother with emotional and physical wounds, a newborn baby that needed me and navigating unknown territory. I felt as though I was trapped in my own emotions and no way of getting out. I felt as if I would snap from the pressure of perfect expectations I formed for myself as a mother and wife. There were times I wanted to scream and cry for everything and everyone to leave me alone. To the point I would silence my phone and found myself breathing through it without being aware of what I was going through. One day, I had enough and began to research. I came across this article about D-MER- It all began to make sense. I cried and never felt so relieved that there was a name for what was happening to me.

I hope that if anyone runs across this blog wondering about D-MER or if you’re learning about this for the first time out of curiosity. Well, welcome to my world. If you’re experiencing D-MER as a mother breastfeeding just know you’re not alone and there is hope yet. The symptoms lessen as time carries on, however, if you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm and feel that your mental health is suffering. Please do what is best for you and your baby. Fed is always best and a happy momma is a happy baby.

Life, motherhood

Exclusively Pumping: Breastfeeding Journey Glimpse

To be honest, things have been hectic. Between little sleep and slowly trying to get back on schedule and keeping a routine with a toddler while feeding a newborn on demand. It’s…well demanding. Along with a part time job at home, school online, my son’s therapy (that’s another blog for another day) I think some days I reach peak of mental exhaustion. I’v been lucky to have my husband for five weeks to help me through this time cause it is not easy getting back to whatever we consider reality at this point.

All things considered I am okay. This time around I know more than I did the first time around with my son. I was new to breastfeeding and pumping. I was new to the experience of motherhood and everything it physically entailed. This time around I am a little less nervous and knew what I wanted which was to pump as much as I could for this baby.

The first time around I remember doing so much research and stressing about my output. I was only making about 20 ounces per day after two to three weeks and it wasn’t enough. I was able to supplement at night with formula but my goal was to strictly breastfeed. Eventually, by an increase of water intake, adding more pumps in my day, lactation supplements and lactation treats was I able to start reaching 30-35 oz a day. I was able to purchase a stand up freezer and store a lot of breast milk for when anytime my supply started to drop towards the end of my journey or started using breast milk in the solids I would give my son. I was proud of the hard work I put into it and couldn’t be happier that I had reached my goal of a year breast feeding. I was relieved once it ended. My mind at peace.

Now here I am once again. I struggle with the thought of doing this all over again for another now…49 weeks or longer depending. This time around I have a oversupply when I prepped for under supply in the beginning. I am proud and yet stressed to say I am at 50-60 oz per day! This time around I did maintain a good water intake, coconut eater from a company I found, lactation brownies, prenatals and pumping at least 6 times a day (its advised to do more like 8-12 so please don’t try this if you’re experiencing an under supply). This all isn’t easy since breast feeding and exclusively pumping has its pros and cons. Every situation is unique and I have my own personal struggles to overcome when it comes to pumping from the wash and sterilizing of bottles and pump part to planning each pump to make sure the kids are comfortable and in a safe place while I sit for 20-30 minutes.

To put this into perspective that’s 20-30 minutes for every pump and at the recommended 8-12 times a day for the first 6 weeks to establish supply. Pumping can actually be a full time job cause this doesn’t include the constant washing of parts and bottles. While taking care of a new baby and everything else of course. This is a glimpse of the struggle but I am proud of myself and those who keep their littles fed. Fed is best and even those who give their little ones formula its still its own struggle to afford formula in the first place. Whether you’re new to this journey or returning. Welcome (Welcome back) you’re not alone!

Life, motherhood

Growing from One to Two Earthside

It’s difficult when you’ve experienced loss of pregnancy. Every pregnancy after you’re stuck in a limbo of what ifs and worry for any news that’ll shake your wold. Every appointment you wonder if the doctors will tell you something a parent never wants to hear. It takes away some but not all of those little joys of being pregnant. The excitement of an ultrasound replaced by anxiety right before. It feels like you’re holding your breath and waiting until they’re in your arms. Even after a successful pregnancy. I still had those nerves being pregnant a fourth time.

Time went by quicker this time. I almost didn’t want the day to come from how unready I felt. Then I remembered that nothing prepares you 100 percent for motherhood. Whether it be the first time you’re becoming a mother or anytime after that. A toddler and a newborn? It was going to be surreal.

Now, that we have our second earth-side son here. I forget how small newborns are. How cuddly they can be all curled up in your chest and you don’t want to move cause you want the moment to last forever. To be their safe place a little while longer before they cry for a feeding or a change. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after having our first earth-side son for over 2 years. I was worried that I would feel too overwhelmed and have mixed emotions. It’s amazing what emotions will do. I honestly felt myself grow. Your heart and soul expands. It’s as if the world around you becomes bigger with love to welcome another child into your life. The pieces fall into place and soon it’s almost as if they were meant to be.

As of now I’m 2 weeks postpartum and to be honest this time around feels a bit easier with the jitters. I know as the weeks go by there will be easy days as there will be difficult days. Especially, once my husband returns to work from family leave. For now I want to soak up these moments while I heal. I’ll share my labor story and raw postpartum with time. I still have days where it feels surreal that I have two kids with me now. Somehow it feels so right and almost impossible based on what we went through. But, I think it was meant to be.

Life

Feeling Distant

For someone that tends to find the joy in small things I tend to fall off at times. Many know this feeling where one moment you’re doing something you thought you love but then life happens and there never seems to be enough time for it? There’s been many phases of this for me. One moment I am passionate about something then the next I lose that spark only to find myself circling back to it again. I am not sure why this happens. It feels like I am constantly losing myself and finding myself all over again. There’s very little things I find that I dedicate myself to. Do I lack the passion and drive? Is this my limit today? How can I go back and redo this all over again?

Quite frankly, it’s been overwhelming. I might share more of this one day when I am ready. Being personal can be tough when you struggle with how much sharing is too much. Or if very little sharing will bore everyone. I am coming back to blogging and I am circling around different ideas about the reality of motherhood, attending college online, working part time from home, discussing my goals and dreams. It would be nice to look back on this and see how much I grow with every passing moment. A personal journal of my path and changes along the way. Except I get to share it with all of you. Just a little confusing update for everyone. Stay safe and much love. Always feel free to comment below. I’ll add my social media links sooner or later to connect with everyone.

Life, motherhood

Coming to Terms

As a first time parent, life can be full of surprises. It’s a journey of both love and hardships that I am learning alongside with husband. From the moment I was pregnant I would fee this deep connection with each child. Even after the first two losses I found myself still being able to bond although cautiously with my son’s pregnancy. After he was born, our journey as parents began and its been over two years since then.

My son is my firsthand experience with a newborn and child. I was never the type to gravitate towards children. It wasn’t who I was and I kept it that way until I was ready to have kids of my own. The pieces of motherhood fell into place and it was a beautiful struggle to say the least. Exclusively pumping and sleepless nights from worry, anxiety, first time jitters, appointments, and overall motherhood. You get this idea stuck in your head that you need to be perfect always. That you’re this super being that cannot mistakes no matter what. How can you? This little human that relies on you for everything and anything. This needs to be perfect, I needed to be perfect. But, then it hit me one day. It was perhaps the first night he slept through the night that I realized. I didn’t need to be perfect but present. Present for his needs and his growth in this world. There would be mistakes on the way but I had to learn from those mistakes instead of torturing myself. Yes, mom guilt is real. It’s completely normal and happens to even the best of us.

As a mother or even a parent it’s difficult to come to terms with many things. It’s easy to call yourself crazy when you suspect anything. That’s why when we noticed our son wasn’t meeting his milestones in his speech or social skills. My non verbal son who tend to shy away from other kids and wouldn’t give us eye contact to even smile at times. Didn’t listen to his name when called. How could I miss that? I began to wonder. Was this cause of me? Was there any earlier signs I had missed? Am I crazy to suspect there could be a diagnosis in the near future. Soon when he turned 2 years old, he was evaluated and diagnosed with mild-moderate autism.

When receiving the news. There was a stillness. I knew this was coming but to hear it be confirmed gave me both a sense of relief and yet a feeling of loss. Relief that I was not crazy to see these signs and make the call. A feeling of loss since I knew this meant a unique journey, different sets of worries, and learning to provide a better quality of life for my son. Was I doing the right thing? How would the world see him as he grows? Will we ever be able to communicate with him? Will he have friends? Can we provide the emotional support he needs?

These are all the questions and more that still haunt me currently. I try to take it a day at a time. Between all his therapies and steps we have taken. I’m slowly becoming more confident and seeing any progress has been enlightening for us. I will admit I still have those occasional nights of tears. I don’t blame myself anymore. I love my sweet boy, I will walk this path with him. I will always cherish his quirks and that smile he has when he makes eye contact with us. It may only last seconds before he gets distracted again but I see him. I am proud of his progress and what’s to come.

Life

Time is Flying

Looking back a year ago. I can almost remember what I was doing during this time of the month. I was mostly likely waking up rushing to get ready for work along side my husband. Getting out the house with a child and three cats to feed can be a bit difficult. But I always appreciated the team effort with my husband.

Once the cold air hit my face we were off with the stroller. I enjoyed the silence together in the morning. Husband and I wouldn’t talk until we dropped our son off to my mother and be on our way to work. We always have random chatters and he sees me off on my train stop. Only to text me he misses me right after. The day would commence and I thought things would continue in this routine. A routine I had contently settled into for the past three months before pandemic hit…

There’s been so much in between since then. Things that I both miss and yet there things I’m currently grateful for that occurred during pandemic. One of these days I’ll talk about it and open up about the details in between. The struggles, the losses and small accomplishments. I hope to come back and share myself again and what I’ve learned in this new chapter in our lives that is yet to end.

Life

New Normal: Staying Home

Adjusting has been difficult to say the least. There are days things aren’t difficult. You take things as they come. Unexpected turns are made and there’s so many thoughts in place. You’re just shocked you sleep through the night.

My life has been hectic. You’d think being at home meant being less busy. Not the case at all. Between decluttering the whole house and not working from home anymore with a now 2 year old. It’s impossible not to be busy! I’m also still cooking from home at least 2 times a week. I order out if possible. (Grubhub is tempting to say the least. We are so guilty of not passing up a good deal). I only go out maybe twice a month only for groceries or to step outside front for my plants and watch my husband run around with our son. Life’s been calmer and mentally hectic more than anything.

My cyber social life has skyrocketed. I’m back to playing video games mostly ps4 and animal crossing on the switch. Binge watching anime again with my husband. Things that got me through so much in life already. It’s starting to feel like there’s not enough time in a day for everything to be done. But, I value our health and how we’ve dealt through this quarantine. My husband comes home with stories of how the outside has been doing. I can’t help but weirdly realize how much things around us have changed. Few months ago we were planning with friends and family to gather for a picnics and going to Central Park. Now it’s animal crossing and group chats with memes and venting sessions. Daily face times to check in with each other.

Living in NYC with the virus it’s hard to see an end to this. Though there are many pros and cons. It feels unreal. To not be able to leave when you want. Questioning yourself as you get ready to run an errand if it’s absolutely necessary. Anyone else forget their mask while walking outside and turning around to run back to get it? (ME!) The amount of tension outside is thicker than the air itself. You feel it come off people in waves. The split second horror on people’s faces when someone clears their throat.

It’s hard to say “I’m okay” when things aren’t like they used to be. Change sometimes can come in increments. But this was thrown at everyone and it’s difficult to even handle it with grace. I hope we can all get through this.


I’ll try to post more as time goes. Probably lighter things and small successes I’ve had personally. But I just had to get this out of the way. Stay safe everyone. Much love always. I’m still active in my succulent insta @everlasting_echeverias

Life

To the Parent Working from Home…I Know.

This hasn’t been the easiest. I don’t know if it will get easier. A new day doesn’t necessarily mean an easier day. There’s so many things going on. Meetings. Schedules. Tension. Low morale. Kid (or kids) crying and fighting. They’re bored or tired of being inside. But, the thought of going outside make your stomach tense with nervousness. How do you keep them entertain them while giving your best to your job? How do you give 100 percent to our kids without our work performance suffering? People telling us we should be grateful and blessed to still work while others are at a loss without a job. We are! I’m truly grateful for both regardless. Being home to earn my income while I get to watch my son. He’s a toddler. His world hasn’t stopped the way it has for me and for my husband. Some of the young kids don’t see it as their life being worse. They see it as time with us.

Even if you’re not working from home. You’ve been thrown for a whirlwind. Struggling to do something as simple as groceries. Lines. Social distancing. Lack of essential items. While hoping you don’t bring this virus home to our loved ones. All the while, figuring out this new way of “home-schooling”. Some of our spouses are essential workers. We are sometimes ALONE all day. Or work is closed and you’re worried about making ends meet. Anxiously, waiting for updates while yelling for everyone to wash their hands.

So many times I’ve taken a deep breath. Held my toddler while he cried whether it be about teething pains or because I told him he cannot climb the coffee table for the 27th time in the past hour. Meanwhile, I can hear one of my cats meowing because I closed the door to my room and didn’t realize they were there…again. Is that my stomach growling? Skipped lunch again since I didn’t realize the time. Once my son is asleep, my eyes are heavy. Energy depleted. I’m emotionally drained and I sink into my chair. There’s work to be done and I’ve neglected chores around the house. The silence although it can be bliss it also leaves me to my thoughts.

So if you’re working from home or not and struggling. I know. I see you. You’re not alone. We can do this. There will be good days. There will be tough days. Tears. Laughter. And some guilt because you’ve yelled more than you’re used to. You got this. I know it!


Hello everyone. It’s been a while. Life took a turn and crashed hasn’t it? I thought transitioning to a working mother was hard enough. Boy, was I wrong! I’m now learning to balance all that and more from home. My only get away being at night once I’m drained with the animal crossing jingle playing. Stay safe and stay home everyone. Things here in NYC are looking more than just rough right now. I feel for all those families who have lost a loved one due to this virus.

Much love and enjoy this succulent photo-Sori

Life, motherhood

A Moment

I needed a moment to myself. Balancing work, social, love and being a mother in life. It became a cycle that I eventually forgot to blog, write in my journal and dare I say? I stopped playing video games all together. I miss it some days. Other days I rather snuggle up to my son and husband to watch the Grinch (for the 3rd time that day)

Sometimes our conversation mingle between how we’ve been feeling with things in life lately. I’ll be honest it’s been overwhelming. I’ve always been such an over-thinker when it comes to anything. I can lay still at night while my mind rummages through the day about things.

Did I play with our son enough? Did he eat enough? Did I have enough patience today? Are the cats happy? The coffee I didn’t get to prepare for my husband…will he resent me? Did I finish that task at work or this task? That bag of laundry should be done by this week or should I go do groceries? Maybe if I had more energy or planned it out better.

There’s always doubt. There’s always something I could of done better. I recently been attempting to prepare for the future. Forgive the past and accept the present. It’s not easy. It’s a struggle every single day for someone who tends to plan and stress when plans aren’t executed on time. But I’m trying and I think that’s good enough for me.

Featured image is a succulent from my collection called Echeveria Sang A.